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With Paula Heiwann, Susan Isaacs 
and Joan Riviere 


With Joan Riviere 


With Paula Heimann and R* E. Money-Kyrle 







Originally published by the Hog-arth Press and 
The Institute of Psycho- Analysis as No. 2 2, in the 
International Psycho- Analytical Library, London 



Library o Congress Catalog" Card Number: 60-11091 





'SOMETIMES we may feel dismayed in face of the mass of 
phenomena which meets us in the wide field of human 
mentality, from the play of children and other typical pro- 
ducts of the early activity of phantasy, through the first 
development of the child's interests and talents, up to the 
most highly valued achievements of mature human beings 
and the most extreme individual differentiations. But then 
we must remember that Freud has given us in the practice 
and theory of Psycho-Analysis an instrument with which 
to investigate this wide subject and to open up the road 
to infantile sexuality, that inexhaustible source of life.' 

ABRAHAM, Selected Papers^ p, 406. 

Preface to the First Edition 

THIS book is based on the observations I have been 
able to make in the course of my psycho-analytic 
work with children. My original plan was to de- 
vote the first part of it to a description of the technique I 
have elaborated and the second to a statement of the theo- 
retical conclusions to which my practical work has gradu- 
ally brought me, and which now seem in their turn well 
fitted to assist the technique I employ. But in the course of 
writing this book a task which has extended over several 
years the second part has outgrown its limits. In addi- 
tion to my experience of Child Analysis, the observa- 
tions I have made in analysing adults have led me to apply 
my views concerning the earliest developmental stages of 
the child to the psychology of the adult as well, and I have 
come to certain conclusions which I shall bring forward in 
these pages as a contribution to the general psycho-analytic 
theory of the earliest stages of the development of the in- 

That contribution is in every respect based on the body 
of knowledge transmitted to us by Freud. It was by apply- 
ing his findings that I gained access to the minds of small 
children and could analyse and cure them. In doing this, 
moreover, I was able to make those direct observations of 
early developmental processes which have led me to my 
present theoretic conclusions. Those conclusions contain a 
full confirmation of the knowledge Freud has gained from 
the analysis of adults, and are an endeavour to extend that 
knowledge in one or two directions. 

If this endeavour should in any way be successful) and 


if this book should really add a few more stones to the 
growing edifice of psycho-ar alytic knowledge, my first 
thanks would be due to Freud himself, who has not only 
raised that edifice and placed it on foundations that will 
allow of its further elaboration, but who has always directed 
our attention to those points where the new work should 
properly be added. 

I should next like to mention the part which my two 
teachers, Dr. Sdndor Ferenczi and Dr. Karl Abraham, 
have played in furthering my psycho-analytic work. Fer- 
enczi was the first to make me acquainted with Psycho- 
Analysis. He also made me understand its real essence and 
meaning. His strong and direct feeling for the unconscious 
and for symbolism, and the remarkable rapport he had with 
the minds of children, have had a lasting influence on me 
in my understanding of the psychology of the small child. 
He also pointed out to me my aptitude for Child Analysis, 
in whose advancement he took a great personal interest, 
and encouraged me to devote myself to this field of psycho- 
analytic therapy, then still very little explored. He further- 
more did all he could to help me along this path, and gave 
me much support in my first efforts. It is to him that I owe 
the beginnings of my work as an analyst. 

In Dr. Karl Abraham I had the great good fortune to 
find a -second teacher with the faculty of inspiring his 
pupils to put out their best energies in the service of 
Psycho-Analysis. In Abraham's opinion the progress of 
Psycho-Analysis depended upon each individual analyst 
upon the value of his work, the quality of his character and 
the level of his scientific attainments. These high standards 
have been before my mind, when, in this book on Psycho- 
Analysis, I have tried to repay some part of the great debt 
I owe to that science. Abraham fully grasped the great 
practical and theoretic possibilities of Child Analysis. At 


the First Conference of German Psycho- Analysts at Wiirz- 
burg in 1 924, in summing up a report I had read upon an 
obsessional neurosis in a child, 1 he declared in words that 
I shall never forget: 'The future of Psycho-Analysis lies 
in Play Analysis'. My study of the mind of the small child 
brought certain facts before me which seemed strange at 
first sight. But the confidence in my work which Abraham 
expressed encouraged me to go forward on my way. My 
theoretic conclusions are a natural development of his own 
discoveries, as I hope this book will show. 

In the last few years my work has received the most 
whole-hearted support from Dr. Ernest Jones. At a time 
when Child Analysis was still in its first stages, he foresaw 
the part it would play in the future. It was at his invitation 
that I gave my first course of lectures in London in 1925 
as a guest of the British Psycho-Analytical Society; and 
these lectures have given rise to the first part of my present 
book. (A second course of lectures, entitled 'Adult Psych- 
ology viewed in the light of Child Analysis', given in 
London in 1927, forms the basis of the second part.) The 
deep conviction with which Dr. Jones has made himself an 
advocate of Child Analysis has opened the way for this 
field of work in England. He himself has made important 
contributions to the problem of early anxiety-situations, 
the significance of the aggressive tendencies for the sense 
of guilt, and the earliest stages of the sexual development 
of woman. The results of his studies are in close touch with 
my own in all essential points. 

I should like in this place to thank my other English 
fellow-workers for the sympathetic understanding and 
cordial support they have given to my work. My friend 
Miss M. N. Searl, whose views agree with mine and who 
works along the same lines as myself, has done lasting 
1 This report forms the basis of Chapter III. of this book. 


service towards the advancement of Child Analysis in Eng- 
land, both from a practical and a theoretical point of view, 
and towards the training of child analysts. My thanks are 
also due to Mrs. James Strachey for her very able transla- 
tion of the book, and to her and Mr. Strachey for the great 
assistance which their stimulating hints and suggestions 
have given me in its composition. My thanks are next due 
to Dr. Edward Glover for the warm and unfailing interest 
he has shown in my work, and for the way in which he has 
assisted me by his sympathetic criticism. He has been of 
special service in pointing out the respects in which my 
conclusions agree with the already existing and accepted 
theories of Psycho-Analysis. I also owe a deep debt of 
gratitude to my friend Mrs. Joan Riviere, who has given 
such active support to my work and has always been ready 
to help me in every way. 

Last but not least, let me very heartily thank my 
daughter, Dr. Melitta Schmideberg, for the devoted and 
valuable help which she has given me in the preparation 
of this book. 

LONDON, July 1932. 

Preface to the Third Edition 

IN the years which have elapsed since this book first 
appeared, I have arrived at further conclusions 
mainly relating to the first year of infancy and these 
have led to an elaboration of certain essential hypotheses 
here presented. The purpose cf this Preface is to give 
some idea of the nature of these modifications. The 
hypotheses I have in mind in this connection are as 
follows: In the first few months of life infants pass through 
states of persecutory anxiety which are bound up with 
the 'phase of maximal sadism*; the young infant also 
experiences feelings of guilt about his destructive 
impulses and phantasies which are directed against his 
primary object his mother, first of all her breast. These 
feelings of guilt give rise to the tendency to make repara- 
tion to the injured object. 

In endeavouring to fill in the picture of this period in 
greater detail, I found that certain shifts of emphasis and 
time relations were inevitable. Thus I have come to 
differentiate between two main phases in the first six to 
eight months of life, and I described them as the 'para- 
noid position* and the 'depressive position*. (The term 
'position* was chosen because though the phenomena 
"involved occur in the first place during early stages of 
development they are not confined to these stages but 
represent specific groupings of anxieties and defences 
which appear and re-appear during the first years of 

The paranoid position is the stage when destructive 
impulses and persecutory anxieties predominate and 
extends from birth until about three, four, or even five 
months of life. This necessitates an alteration in dating 
the phase of maximal sadism but does not involve a 



change of view regarding the close interaction between 
sadism and persecutory anxiety at their height. 

The depressive position, which follows on this stage 
and is bound up with important steps in ego develop- 
ment, is established about the middle of the first year of 
life. At this stage sadistic impulses and phantasies, as 
well as persecutory anxiety, diminish in power. The 
infant introjects the object as a whole, and simultaneously 
he becomes in some measure able to synthesise the 
various aspects of the object as well as his emotions 
towards it. Love and hatred come closer together in his 
mind, and this leads to anxiety lest the object, internal 
and external, be harmed or destroyed. Depressive feelings 
and guilt give rise to the urge to preserve or revive the 
loved object and thus to make reparation for destructive 
impulses and phantasies. 

The concept of the depressive position not only 
entails an alteration in dating early phases of develop- 
ment; it also adds to our knowledge of the emotional life 
of young infants and therefore vitally influences our 
understanding of the whole development of the child. 

This concept also throws new light on the early stages 
of the CEdipus complex. I still believe that these begin 
roughly in the middle of the first year. But since I no 
longer hold that at this period sadism is at its height, I 
place a different emphasis on the beginning of the 
emotional and sexual relation to both parents. Therefore, 
while in some passages (see Chapter VIII) I suggested 
that the CEdipus complex starts under the dominance of 
sadism and hatred, I would now say that the infant turns 
to the second object, the father, with feelings both of love 
and of hatred. (In Chapters IX, X and XII, however, 
these issues were considered from another angle, and there I 
came close to the view I now hold.) I see in the depressive 
feelings derived from the fear of losing the loved mother 
as an external and internal object an important 
impetus towards early CEdipus desires. This means that 


I now correlate the early stages of the CEdipus complex 
with the depressive position. 

There are also in this book a number of statements 
which, in keeping with my work over the last sixteen 
years, I might wish to reformulate. Such reformulation, 
however, would not entail any essential alteration in the 
conclusions here put forward. For this book as it stands 
represents fundamentally the views I hold today. More- 
over, the more recent development of my work derives 
organically from the hypotheses here presented: e.g. y 
processes of introjection and projection operating from 
the beginning of life; internalised objects from which in 
the course of years the super-ego in all its aspects 
develops; the relation to external and internal objects 
interacting from earliest infancy and vitally influencing 
both the super-ego development and object relations ; the 
early onset of the CEdipus complex; infantile anxieties of 
a psychotic nature providing the fixation points for the 
psychoses. Furthermore, play technique which I first 
evolved in 1922 and 1923 and which I presented in this 
book still stands in all essentials; it has been elaborated 
but not altered by the further development of my work. 

LONDON, May 1948. 


THIS book, under the title of Die Psychoanalyse des 
Kindts, has just (1932) been published in Vienna 
by the Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Vcrlag* In 
the translation of certain chapters of it I am indebted to 
Miss I. Grant Duff, Mr. Adrian Stephen and my husband 
for the use of their draft renderings of an earlier version 
of the original. The Index is based upon the one made 
by Dr. Melitta Schmideberg for the German edition. 

Particulars of all works referred to in the footnotes will 
be found under their authors' names in the bibliography 
at the end of the volume. 

A. S. 





TRANSLATOR'S NOTE . . . . . 14 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . , 17 




ANALYSIS ...... 23 




PERIOD . . . . . ,. 94 



















LIST OF PATIENTS . . . . . .381 

INDEX ........ 389 


THE beginnings of Child Analysis go back more 
than two decades, to the time when Freud himself 
carried out his analysis of 'Little Hans'. 1 This first 
analysis of a child was of great theoretic importance in two 
respects. Its success in the case of a child of under five 
showed that psycho-analytic methods could be applied to 
small children; and, perhaps more important still, it was 
able fully to demonstrate, by direct contact with the child, 
the hitherto much-questioned existence of those infantile 
instinctual tendencies which Freud had discovered in the 
adult. In addition, the results obtained from it held out the 
hope that further analyses of small children would give us 
a deeper and more accurate knowledge of their psychology 
than analysis of adults had done, and would thus be able 
to make important and fundamental additions to the theory 
of Psycho-Analysis. But this hope remained unrealized for 
a long time. For many years Child Analysis continued to 
be a relatively unexplored region in the domain of Psycho- 
Analysis, both as a science and a therapy. Although several 
analysts, Dr. H. Hug-Hellmuth 2 in especial, have since 
undertaken analyses of children, no fixed rules as regards 
its technique or application have been evolved. This is 
doubtless the reason why the great practical and theoretical 
possibilities of Child Analysis have not yet been generally 

1 'Analysis of a Phobia in a Five- Year-Old Boy 1 (1909). 
1 4 Zur Technik der Kinderanalyse' (1921). 

17 B 


appreciated, and why those fundamental principles and 
aspects of Psycho-Analysis which have long since been 
adopted in the case of adults have still to be laid down and 
proved where children are concerned. 

It is only within the last twelve or thirteen years that 
more considerable work has been done in the field of Child 
Analysis. This has, in the main, followed two lines of de- 
velopment one represented by Anna Freud and the other 
by myself. 

Anna Freud has been led by her findings in regard to 
the ego of the child to modify the classical technique, and 
has worked out her method of analysing children in the 
latency period quite independently of my procedure. The 
theoretic conclusions she has come to are at variance with 
mine in certain fundamental respects. In her opinion chil- 
dren do not develop a transference-neurosis, 1 so that a 
fundamental condition for analytical treatment is absent. 
Moreover, she thinks that a method similar to the one 
employed for adults should not be applied to children, 
because their infantile ego-ideal is still too weak. 2 

1 'Unlike the adult, the child is not prepared to produce a new edition, as it 
were, of its love-relationships$ the reason being that, to continue the metaphor, 
the original edition is not yet out of print. Its first objects, its parents, are still 
its love-objects in real life and not merely in imagination, as is the case with 
grown-up neurotics.* And again: 'The child has no need to exchange him* (the 
analyst) 'with its parents without more adoj for the analyst does not offer it all 
those advantages in comparison with its original objects which the adult patient 
gains who exchanges phantasy-objects for a real person* (Einftihrung in die 
fechnik der Kinderanalyse^ 1927, S. 56 and 58). 

* The reasons she adduces are: *the weakness of the child*s ego-ideal, the de- 
pendence of its requirements, and hence of its neurosis, upon the external world, 
its inability to control the instincts that have been liberated within it and the 
consequent necessity the analyst is under of keeping it under his educational 
guidance' (S. 82). Again: *In children, the negative tendencies they direct to- 
wards the analyst, illuminating as they so often are in many ways, are essentially 
inconvenient, and we must reduce them and weaken them as speedily as possible. 
It is in their positive relation to the analyst that truly valuable work will always 
be done' (S. 51). 


These views differ from mine. My observations have 
taught me that children can quite well produce a trans- 
ference-neurosis, and that a transference-situation arises 
just as in the case of grown-up persons, so long as we em- 
ploy a method which is the equivalent of Adult Analysis, 
i.e. which avoids all educational measures and which fully 
analyses the negative impulses directed towards the analyst. 
They have also taught me that in children of every age it is 
very hard even for deep analysis to mitigate the severity 
of the super-ego. Moreover, in so far as it does so with- 
out having recourse to any educational influence, analysis 
not only does not weaken the child's ego, but actually 
strengthens it. 

It would be an interesting task, no doubt, to compare 
these two lines of procedure in detail and with reference to 
the experimental data and to evaluate them from a theo- 
retical point of view. But I must content myself in these 
pages with giving an account of my technique and of the 
theoretical conclusions which it has enabled me to come to. 
Relatively so little is known at present about the analysis of 
children that our first task must be to throw light on the 
problems of Child Analysis from various angles and to 
gather together the results so far obtained. 





THE findings of Psycho-Analysis have led to the 
creation of a new Child Psychology. They have 
taught us that even in their earliest years children 
not only experience sexual impulses and anxiety, but under- 
go great disillusionments. Along with the belief in the 
asexuality of the child has perished the belief in the 'Para- 
dise of Childhood*. Analysis of adults and direct observa- 
tion of children have led us to these conclusions, and they 
are confirmed and amplified by the analysis of small 

First let us, with the help of examples, form a picture 
of the mind of the young child as these early analyses re- 
veal it. My patient Rita, who at the beginning of her treat- 
ment was two and three-quarter years old, had a preference 
for her mother till the end of her first year. After that she 
showed a markedly greater fondness for her father, to- 
gether with a good deal of jealousy of her mother. For 
instance, when she was fifteen months old she used re- 
peatedly to express a desire to be left alone in the room 
with her father and to sit on his knee and look at books 
with him. At the age of eighteen months her attitude 
changed once more and her mother was re-installed as the 
favourite. At the same time she began to suffer from night 
terrors and fear of animals. She grew more and more 

1 This chapter is an expanded version of my paper, 'The Psychological Prin- 
ciples of Infant Analysis" (1926). 



strongly fixated upon her mother and developed an intense 
dislike of her father. At the beginning of her third year 
she became increasingly ambivalent and difficult to man- 
age, until at last, at the age of two and three-quarters, she 
was brought to me to be analysed. At that time she had a 
very marked obsessional neurosis. She exhibited obsessive 
ceremonials and alternated between an exaggerated 'good- 
ness', accompanied by feelings of remorse, and an uncon- 
trollable 'naughtiness 7 . She had attacks of parathymia 
which showed all the signs of melancholic depression ; and 
in addition she suffered from severe anxiety, an extensive 
inhibition in play, a total inability to tolerate any kind of 
frustration, and an excessive plain tiveness of disposition. 
These difficulties made the child almost impossible to 
manage. 1 

Rita's case clearly showed that the favor nocturnus which 
appeared at the age of eighteen months was a neurotic 
elaboration of her Oedipus conflict. Her attacks of anxiety 
and rage, which turned out to be a repetition of her night 

* Rita had shared her parents* bedroom until she was nearly two, and in her 
analysis she showed the consequences of having witnessed the primal scene. When 
she was two years old her brother was bom, and this event led to the outbreak 
of her neurosis in its full force. Her analysis lasted for eighty-three sessions and 
was left unfinished 3 as her parents went to live abroad. In all important points it 
resulted in a quite considerable improvement. The child's anxiety was lessened 
and her obsessive ceremonials disappeared. Her depressive symptoms, together 
with her inability to tolerate frustrations, were a good deal moderated. At the 
same time as analysis lessened her ambivalence towards her mother and improved 
her relations to her father and brother, it reduced the difficulties of her upbringing 
to a normal level. I was able to convince myself at first hand of the lasting nature 
of the results of her analysis some years after its termination. I found then that 
she had entered upon the latency period in a satisfactory manner, and that her 
intellectual and characteroiog/cil development were satisfactory. Nevertheless, 
when I saw her again I got the impression that it would have been advisable to 
hare continued her analysis somewhat farther. Her whole character and nature 
showed unmistakable traces of an obsessional disposition. It must be remarked, 
however, that her mother suffered from a severe obsessional neurosis and had 
had an ambivalent relation towards the child from tbe first. One result of the 
changes for the better which analysis had effected in Rita was that her mother's 
attitude to^^axds her had also greatly improved; but even so it was a severe handicap 
in the child's development. There is no doubt that if her analysis had been 
carried through to the end and her obsessional traits still farther cleared up, she 
would have enjoyed yet greater immunity from the neurotic and neurosis- 
inducmg environment in which she lived. Seven years after the end of her 
treatment I heard from her mother that she was developing satisfactorily. 


terrors, and her other difficulties as well, were very closely 
connected with strong feelings of guilt arising from that 
early conflict. 1 

We will now consider the content and the causes of these 
early feelings of guilt by reference to another case. Trude, 
aged three and three-quarters, 2 used repeatedly to pretend 
in her analysis that it was night-time and that we were both 
asleep. She then used to come softly over to me from the 
opposite corner of the room (which was supposed to be her 
own bedroom) and threaten me in various ways, such as 
that she was going to stab me in the throat, throw me out 
of the window, burn me up, take me to the police, etc. 
She would want to tie up my hands and feet, or she would 
lift up the rug on the sofa and say she was doing *Po 
Kaki Kuki\ This it turned out, meant that she wanted 
to look inside her mother's bottom for the 'Kakis* (faeces), 
which signified children to her. On another occasion she 
wanted to hit me in the stomach and declared that she was 
taking out my 'A-as' (stool) and was making me poor. 
She then seized the cushions, which had repeatedly figured 
as children, and crouched down with them behind the 
sofa. There she exhibited every sign of fear, covered her- 
self up, sucked her fingers and wetted herself. She used to 
repeat this whole process whenever she had made an attack 
on me. It corresponded in every detail with the way she 
had behaved in bed when, at a time when she was not yet 
two, she had been overtaken by very severe night terrors. 
At that time, too, she had run into her parents* bedroom 
again and again at night without being able to say what it 
was she wanted. Analysis showed that her wetting and dirty- 
ing herself were attacks upon her parents copulating with 
each other, and in this way removed the symptoms. Trude 
had wanted to rob her pregnant mother of her children, 
to kill her and to take her place in coitus with her father. 3 

1 In Chapter VIII. I shall give fuller reasons for assuming that in these 
emotions the Oedipus conflict, or early stages of it, were already finding utterance. 

* Here, as elsewhere, the age given denotes the age at which the child started 

3 Her sister had been born when she was two years old. 


It was those impulses of hatred and aggression which, 
in her second year, had given rise to an unduly strong 
fixation upon her mother and to a sense of guilt which 
expressed itself, among other things, in her night terrors. 
Thus we see that the child's early anxiety and feelings 

clearly exhibiting 
she used to manage to hurt herself in some way almost 
every time before she came for her analytic hour. It turned 
out that the objects against which she had hurt herself a 
table, a cupboard, a fireplace, etc. signified, in accord- 
ance with primitive and infantile processes of identification, 
her mother or her father, who were punishing her. 2 

The play of children enables us to draw clear inferences 
as to the origin of this sense of guilt at an early age. Re- 
turning to our first case, we find that in her second year 
Rita was conspicuous for the remorse she used to feel for 
every small wrongdoing, and for her over-sensitiveness to 
reproach. For instance, she once burst into tears because 
her father uttered a laughing threat against a bear in her 

1 In the paper upon which this chapter is based ( c The Psychological Principle! 
of Infant Analysis', 1926) I had already put forward the view that impulses of 
hatred and aggression are the deepest cause and foundation of feelings of guilt; 
and since then I have brought fresh evidence in support of that opinion in a 
number of other writings. In my paper 'The Importance of Symbol- Formation 
in the Development of the Ego*, read at the Oxford Congress in 1929, I was 
able to give a more extended formulation of it. I said: *It is only in the later 
stages of the Oedipus conflict that the defence against the libidinal impulses 
makes its appearance; in the earlier stages it is against the accompanying de- 
structive impulses that the defence is directed*. This statement agrees in some 
points, I think, with the conclusions Freud has reached in his recent book 
Civilization and its Discontents (1929), in which he says: 'So then it is, after all, 
only the aggression which is changed into guilt, by being suppressed and made 
over to the super-ego. I am convinced that very many processes will admit of 
much simpler and clearer explanation if we restrict the findings of psycho- 
analysis in respect of the origin of the sense of guilt to the aggressive instincts* 
(p. 131). And on the next page: 'One is now inclined to suggest the following 
statement as a possible formulation: when an instinctual trend undergoes re- 
pression, its libidinal elements are transformed into symptoms and its aggressive 
components into a sense of guilt*. 

* A certain plaintiveness of disposition and a tendency to fall down or get 
hurt, things so common in small children in especial, are, according to my ex- 
perience, effects of the sense of guilt. 


picture-book. Her fear of her father's displeasure was 
enough to make her identify herself with the bear. The 
inhibition in play from which she suffered also proceeded 
from her sense of guilt. When she was only two and a 
quarter years old and used to play with her doll a game 
which gave her little pleasure she would repeatedly de- 
clare that she was not its mother. Analysis showed that she 
was not permitted to be its mother, because, among other 
things, it stood for her brother whom she had wanted to 
steal from her mother during the latter's pregnancy. The 
prohibition, however, did not proceed from her real mother, 
but from an introjected one who treated her with far more 
sternness and cruelty than the real one had ever done. 
Another symptom which Rita developed at the age of 
two was an obsessional one, a bed-time ritual which took 
up a lot of time. The main point of it was that she had 
to be tightly tucked up in the bed-clothes, otherwise a 
'mouse or a Butzen* would get in through the window and 
bite off her own ^Eutzen^^ Her doll had to be tucked up 
too, and this double ceremonial became more and more 
elaborate and long-drawn-out and was performed with 
every sign of that compulsive attitude which pervaded her 
whole mind. On one occasion during her analytic hour she 
put a toy elephant next to her doll's bed so as to prevent 
it from getting up and going into her parents' bedroom 
and 'doing something to them or taking something away 
from them'. The elephant was taking over the role of her 
internalized parents whose prohibitive influence she felt 
ever since, between the age of one and a quarter and two, 
she had wished to take her mother's place with her father, 
rob her of the child inside her, and injure and castrate 
both parents. The meaning of the ceremonial now became 
clear: being tucked up in bed was to prevent her from 
getting up and carrying out her aggressive wishes against 
her parents. Since, however, she expected to be punished 

1 Rita's castration complex was manifested in a whole series of symptoms and 
also in her characterological development. Her play, too, clearly snowed the 
strength of her identification with her father and her fear arising from her 
castration complex of failing in the masculine role. 


for those wishes by a similar attack on herself by her 
parents, being tucked up also served as a defence against 
such attacks. The attacks were to be made, for instance, 
by the 'Butzen (her father's penis), which would injure her 
genitals and bite off her own 'Butzen as a punishment for 
wanting to castrate him. In these games she used to pun- 
ish her doll and then give way to an outburst of rage and 
fear, thus showing that she was playing both parts herself 
that of the powers which inflicted punishment and that 
of the punished child itself. 

It is clear also that this anxiety refers not only to the 
child's real parents but also, and more especially, to its 
excessively stern introjected parents. What we meet with 
here corresponds to what we call the super-ego in adults. 1 
The typical signs of the Oedipus complex, which are most 
pronounced when it has reached its maximum strength and 
which immediately precede its decline, are themselves only 
the final stage of a process which has been going on for 
years. Early analysis shows that the Oedipus conflict sets 
in as early as the second half of the first year of life and 
that at the same time the child begins to modify it and to 
build up its super-ego. 

Finding, then, as we do, that even quite young children 
are under the weight of feelings of guilt, we have at least 
one very good ground of approach for their analysis. And 
yet many conditions for their successful treatment seem to 
be absent. Their relation to reality is a weak one; there is 
apparently no inducement for them to undergo the trials 
of an analysis, since they do not as a rule feel ill ; and lastly, 
and most important of all, they cannot as yet give, or can- 
not give in a sufficient degree, those associations of speech 
which are the principal instrument of an analytic treatment 
of adults. 

Let us take this last objection first. It was the very dif- 
ferences between the infantile mind and the grown-up one 
that showed me, in the first instance, the way to get at the 

1 In the writer's opinion the child's earliest identifications should already be 
called a. super-ego. The reasons for this view will be given in Chapter VIII. 


associations of the child and to understand its unconscious. 
These special characteristics of the child's psychology have 
furnished the basis of the technique of Pky Analysis which 
I have been able to work out. The child expresses its phan- 
tasies, its wishes and its actual experiences in a symbolic 
way through play and games. In doing so it makes use of 
the same archaic and phylogenetic mode of expression, the 
same language, as it were, that we are familiar with in 
dreams; and we can only fully understand this language 
if we approach it in the way Freud has taught us to ap- 
proach the language of dreams. Symbolism is only a part 
of it. If we wish to understand the child's play correctly 
in relation to its whole behaviour during the analytic hour 
we must not be content to pick out the meaning of the 
separate symbols, striking as they often are, but must take 
into consideration all the mechanisms and methods of re- 
presentation employed by the dream-work, never losing 
sight of the relation of each factor to the situation as a 
whole. Analysis of children has shown again and again how 
many different meanings a single toy or a single bit of play 
can have, and that we can only completely comprehend 
their meaning when we know their further connections 
and the general analytic situation in which they are set. 
Rita's doll, for instance, would sometimes stand for a penis, 
sometimes a child she had stolen from her mother and 
sometimes her own self. Full analytic results can only be 
obtained if we bring these play-elements into their true 
relation with the child's sense of guilt by interpreting them 
down to the smallest detail. The whole kaleidoscopic pic- 
ture, often to all appearances quite meaningless, which 
children present to us in a single analytic hour the con- 
tent of their games, the way in which they play, the means 
they use (for sometimes they will assign the various roles 
to their toys, sometimes to themselves) and the motives 
behind a change of game why, let us say, they will stop 
playing with water and start cutting out in paper or draw- 
ing all these things are seen to have method in them and 
will yield up their meaning if we interpret them as we do 


dreams. Very often children will express in their play the 
same thing that they have just been telling us in a dream, 
or will bring associations to a dream in the play which suc- 
ceeds it. For play is the child's most important medium of 
expression. If we make use of this play technique we soon 
find that the child brings as many associations to the separ- 
ate elements of its play as adults do to the separate elements 
of their dreams. These separate play-elements are indica- 
tions to the trained observer; and as it plays, the child talks 
as well, and says all sorts of things which have the value of 
genuine associations. 

It is surprising how children will sometimes accept the 
interpretation put forward with facility and even with 
marked pleasure. The reason undoubtedly is that in cer- 
tain strata of their mind communication between the con- 
scious and the unconscious is as yet comparatively easy, 
so that the way back to the unconscious is much simpler 
to find. Interpretation often has rapid effects, even when 
it does not appear to have been taken in consciously. Such 
effects show themselves in the way in which they enable 
the child to resume a game it has broken off in consequence 
of the emergence of an inhibition, and to change and ex- 
pand it, bringing deeper layers of the mind to view in it. 
And as anxiety is thus resolved and pleasure in play re- 
stored, analytic contact, too, becomes securely established 
once more. Interpretation increases the child's pleasure 
in play by rendering unnecessary the expenditure of 
energy it has been making in order to maintain repres- 
sion. On the other hand, we sometimes encounter resist- 
ances which are very hard to overcome. This most usually 
means that we have come up against the child's anxiety 
and sense of guilt belonging to deeper layers of its 

The archaic and symbolic forms of representation which 
the child employs are associated with another primitive 
mechanism. In its play it acts instead of speaks. Action, 
which is more primitive than thought or words, forms the 
chief part of its behaviour. In his * History of an Infantile 


Neurosis', Freud writes on p. 475: *An analysis which is 
conducted upon a neurotic child itself must, as a matter of 
course^ appear to be more trustworthy, but it cannot be 
very rich in material ; too many words and thoughts have 
to be lent to the child, and even so the deepest strata may 
turn out to be impenetrable to consciousness'. If we 
approach the child-patient with the technique of adult 
analysis it is quite certain that we shall not penetrate to 
those deepest levels ; and yet it is upon doing this that, for 
the child no less than for the adult, the success and value 
of analysis depends'. But if we take into consideration the 
ways in which the child's psychology differs from that of 
the adult the fact that its unconscious is as yet in close 
contact with its conscious and that its most primitive im- 
pulses are at work alongside of highly complicated mental 
processes and if we can correctly grasp the child's mode 
of thought and expression, then all these drawbacks and 
disadvantages vanish and we find that we may expect to 
make as deep and as extensive an analysis of the child as 
of the adult. More so, in fact. For the child can actually 
recover and present to us in a direct way certain experi- 
ences and fixations which the adult can often only produce 
as reconstructions. 1 

In a paper read before the Salzburg Congress in 1924,* 
I put forward the view that behind every form of play- 
activity lies a process of discharge of masturbatory phan- 
tasies, operating in the form of a continuous impulse to 
play; that this process, acting as a repetition-compulsion, 
constitutes a fundamental mechanism in children's play 
and in all their subsequent sublimations; and that in- 
hibitions in play and work spring from an unduly strong 
repression of those phantasies and, with them, of the 
whole imaginative life of the child. The child's sexual 

1 The reason why, in the writer's opinion, Early Analysis offers one of the 
most fruitful fields for psycho-analytic therapy, is precisely because the child 
has the ability to represent its unconscious in a direct way, and thus not only 
to experience a far-reaching emotional abreaction but actually to live through 
the original situation in its analysis, so that with the help of interpretation its 
fixations can to a considerable extent be resolved. * Not published. 


with me she went abroad with her mother for six months. 
Then her analysis was resumed. The only occasion on 
which she said anything of all the things she had seen and 
done during her travels was some time later when she 
told me this dream : She and her mother were back in Italy 
in a certain restaurant she knew y and the waitress didn't give 
her any raspberry syrup because there wasn't any left. The 
interpretation of this dream showed, among other things, 1 
that she had not got over her displeasure at the with- 
drawal of the mother's breast and her envy of her younger 
sister. Whereas she. had reported to me all sorts of appar- 
ently unimportant daily events and had repeatedly alluded 
to small details out of her first analytic hour six months 
earlier, the only way in which she showed the slightest 
interest in her travels was in this allusion, arising out of 
the analytic situation, to the frustration she had suffered 
in infancy. 

^. Neurotic children do not tolerate reality well, because 
they cannot tolerate frustrations. They seek to protect 
themselves from reality by denying it. But what is most 
important and decisive for their future adaptability to 
reality is the greater or less ease with which they tolerate 
those frustrations which arise out of the Oedipus situation. 
Even in quite small children, therefore, a too emphatic 
rejection of reality (often disguised under an apparent 
docility and adaptability) is an indication of neurosis and 
only differs from the adult neurotic's flight from reality in 
its form of expression. For this reason one of the results 
of early analysis should be to enable the child to adapt 
itself to reality. If this has been successfully done the 
child's educational difficulties will be lessened, for it will 
have become able to tolerate the frustrations entailed by 

1 The dream was a punishment-dream. It proved to be based upon death- 
wishes derived from her oral frustration and her Oedipus situation and directed 
against her sister and mother, together with the sense of guilt resulting from those 
wishes. My analysis of very young children's dreams in general has shown me 
that in them, no less than in play, there are always present not only wishes but 
counter-tendencies coming from the super-ego, and that even in the simplest 
wish-dreams the sense of guilt is operative in a latent way. 


We have now seen, I think, that in child analysis our 
angle of approach has to be somewhat different from what 
it is in the analysis of adults. Taking the shortest cut pos- 
sible through the ego, we apply ourselves in the first instance 
to the child's unconscious and from there gradually get into 
touch with its ego as well. Analysis does much to strengthen 
the child's as yet feeble ego and help it to develop, by 
lessening the excessive weight of the super-ego, which 
presses on it far more severely than it does on the ego of 
full-grown persons. 1 

I have spoken of the rapid effect that interpretation has 
upon children and how this is observable in a great num- 
ber of ways, such as the expansion of their play, the 
strengthening of their transference and decrease of their 
anxiety, etc. Nevertheless, they do not seem to -deal with 
and work over such interpretations in consciousness for 
some time. This task, I found, was accomplished later on, 
and was bound up with the development of their ego and 
the growth of their adaptation to reality, with which it 
kept pace. The process of sexual enlightenment follows 
the same course. For a long time analysis does no more 
than bring out material connected with sexual theories and 
birth-phantasies. It only brings knowledge gradually by 
removing the unconscious resistances which work against 
it. Full sexual enlightenment, therefore, like a full adapta- 
tion to reality, is one of the consequences of a completed 
analysis. Without it no analysis can be said to have reached 
a successful termination. 

In the same way as the mode of expression is different 
in the child, so is the analytic situation as a whole. And yet 
in both child and adult the main principles of analysis are 
the same. Consistent interpretation, steady resolution of 

1 Unlike the grown-up patient, the child cannot, after its recovery, alter the 
circumstances of its life. But analysis will have helped it very greatly if it has 
enabled it to get on better and to feel more cheerful in its actual environment. 
Furthermore, the removal of its own neurosis often has the effect of improving 
the behaviour of its milieu. It has been my experience that the mother -will react 
in a much less neurotic way as soon as analysis has begun to effect favourable 
changes in her child. 


the resistances, constant reference back of the transference, 
whether positive or negative, to earlier situations these 
establish and maintain a correct analytic situation with the 
child no less than with the adult. A necessary condition 
for this achievement is that the analyst should refrain, as 
he does with adult patients, from exerting any kind of 
non-analytic and educational influence upon the child. He 
should deal with its transference on lines identical with 
his management of it in grown-up cases. He will then see 
the child's symptoms and difficulties become drawn in to 
the analytic situation in exactly the same way. Its former 
symptoms, or the difficulties and 'naughtiness* which cor- 
respond to them, will come out anew. It will, for instance, 
begin to wet its bed once more; or, in certain situations 
which repeat an earlier one, it will, even if it is three or 
four years old, start talking like a small child of one or 

Seeing that children take in and digest their new know- 
ledge mostly in an unconscious way, they will not be called 
upon on the strength of it to change their whole point of 
view in regard to their parents all at once. The alteration will 
be at first rather one of feeling. Knowledge dealt with in 
this gradual way has always, as far as my experience goes, 
been a great relief to the child and has greatly improved 
its relations towards its parents, so that it has become 
more socially adaptable and easier to bring up. The de- 
mands of its super-ego having been moderated by analysis, 
its ego, now less oppressed and consequently stronger, is 
able to carry them out more easily. 

As analysis continues, children grow able to some ex- 
tent to substitute for the processes of repression those of 
critical rejection. This is especially clearly seen when in a 
later stage of their analysis they become so detached from 
the sadistic impulses which once governed them, and to 
whose interpretation they opposed the strongest resist- 
ances, that they sometimes make fun of them. I have heard 
quite small children joke about the idea that they once 
really wanted to eat their Mummy up or cut her into 


pieces. 1 The decrease of the sense of guilt which accom- 
panies these changes also enables sadistic desires which 
were before entirely repressed to undergo sublimation. 
This comes out in the removal of inhibitions both in play 
and work and the appearance of a number of fresh in- 
terests and activities. 

In this chapter I have taken as my point of departure 
my technique of Early Analysis, because it underlies the 
analytic methods I adopt with children of all ages. For in 
so far as the mental characteristics of the quite small child 
often still persist quite strongly in older ones, I have found 
it necessary to use the same technique for them as well. 
On the other hand, of course, the ego of the older child 
is more fully developed, so that that technique has to 
undergo some modification when it is applied to children 
in the latency period and at puberty. This subject will 
receive fuller attention later on and I shall therefore only 
dwell on it very briefly here. Whether such a modified 
technique will more nearly approximate to Early Analysis 
or to Adult Analysis depends not only upon the age of the 
child but upon the special character of the case. 

Speaking generally, I am guided in my choice of ana- 
lytic method for all periods of childhood by the following 
chief considerations. Children and young people suffer 
from a more acute degree of anxiety than do adults, and 
therefore we must gain access to their anxiety and to their 
unconscious sense of guilt and establish the analytic situa- 
tion as rapidly as possible. In small children this anxiety 
usually finds an outlet in anxiety attacks; during the 
latency period it more often takes the form of distrust and 
reserve, while in the intensely emotional age of puberty it 
once more leads to acute liberation of anxiety which now, 
however, in conformity with the child's more developed 

1 This observation, that when their super-ego becomes less harsh children 
develop a sense of humour, is, I think, in full agreement with Freud's theory 
of the nature of humour, which, according to him, is the effect of a friendly 
super-ego. In concluding his paper on *Humour* (1928) he says: 'Finally, if 
the super-ego does try to comfort the ego by humour and to protect it from 
suffering, this does not conflict with its derivation from the parental institu- 


ego, frequently finds expression in obstinate and violent 
resistances which may easily cause the analysis to be 
broken off. My experience is that the way to resolve some 
of this anxiety quickly in children of all ages is immedi- 
ately and systematically to deal with the negative trans- 
ference. In order to gain the necessary access to the child's 
phantasies and unconscious we must turn our attention 
to those methods of indirect symbolic representation which 
it employs at every age. Once the child's imagination has 
become more free as a consequence of its lessened anxiety, 
we have not only gained access to its unconscious but have 
also set in motion in an ever greater degree the means at 
its command for representing 1 its phantasies. And this 
holds good even in those cases where we have to start 
from material which appears to be completely devoid of 

In conclusion I should like to sum up briefly what has 
been said in this chapter. The more primitive nature of 
the child's mind makes it necessary to find an analytic 
technique that shall be more especially adapted to it, and 
this we find in Play Analysis. By means of Play Analysis 
we gain access to the child's most deeply repressed experi- 
ences and fixations and are thus able to exert a radical in- 
fluence on its development. The difference between our 
methods of analysis and those of Adult Analysis, how- 
ever, is purely one of technique and not of principle. 
The analysis of the transference-situation and of the re- 
sistance, the removal of infantile amnesias and of the 
effects of repression, as well as the uncovering of the 

1 If we do this we shall succeed in making speech as far as the child possesses 
that faculty an instrument of its analysis. Even in quite small children the 
reason why we have to do without verbal associations for long periods of their 
analysis is not only because they cannot speak with ease but because the acute 
anxiety they suffer from only permits them to employ a less direct form of 
representation. Since the primary archaic mode of representation by means of 
toys and of action is an essential medium of expression for the child, we can 
certainly never carry out a thorough analysis of a child by means of speech 
alone. Nevertheless, I believe that no analysis of a child, whatever its age, can be 
said to be really terminated until the child has employed its powers of speech in 
analysis to its full capacity. For language constitutes one of the points of contact 
between the individual and the external world. 


primal scene all these things Play Analysis does. It there- 
fore not only conforms to the same standards of psycho- 
analytic method as do adult analyses, but also leads to the 
same results. The only difference is that it suits its mode 
of procedure to the mind of the child. 


IN the first chapter of this book I have tried to show, 
on the one hand, what special psychological mechan- 
isms we find operative in the small child as distinct 
from the adult when we come to analyse it, and, on the 
other, what parallels exist between the two, and I have 
explained that it is at once these differences and these 
similarities which necessitate a special technique and which 
have led me to develop my method of Play Analysis. 

On a low table in my analytic room there are laid out a 
number of small toys of a primitive kind little wooden men 
and women, carts, carriages, motor-cars, trains, animals, 
bricks and houses, as well as paper, scissors and pencils. 
Even a child that is usually inhibited in its play will at 
least glance at the toys or touch them, and will soon give 
me a first glimpse into its complexive life by the way in 
which it begins to play with them or lays them aside, or 
by its general attitude towards them. 

In order to get a clear idea of the principles of play 
technique let us turn to an actual case. Peter, aged three 
and three-quarters, was very difficult to manage. He was 
strongly fixated upon his mother and very ambivalent. He 
was unable to tolerate frustrations, was totally inhibited 
in play and gave the impression of being an extremely 
timid, plaintive and unboyish child. At times his behaviour 
would be aggressive and overbearing, and he got on badly 
with other children, especially with his younger brother, 
His analysis was intended to be chiefly a prophylactic 



measure, since there had been several cases of severe 
neurosis in the family. But in the course of it I found that 
he was suffering from such a serious neurosis himself and 
from such a degree of inhibition- that he would almost 
certainly not have been able to meet the demands of school 
life and would, sooner or later, have fallen ill. 1 

At the very beginning of his first hour Peter took the 
toy carriages and cars and put them first one behind the 
other and then side by side, and alternated this arrange- 
ment several times. He also took a horse and carriage and 
bumped it into another, so that the horses' feet knocked 
together, and said: Tve got a new little brother called 
Fritz*. I asked him what the carriages were doing. He 
answered: 'That's not nice*, and stopped bumping them 
together at once, but started again quite soon. Then he 
knocked two toy horses together in the same way. Upon 
which I said : 'Look here, the horses are two people bump- 
ing together*. At first he said: 'No, that's not nice', but 
then, *Yes, that's two people bumping together', and 
added: 'The horses have bumped together too, and now 
they're going to sleep'. Then he covered them up with 
bricks and said: 'Now they're quite dead; I've buried 
them'. In his second hour lie at once arranged the cars 
and carts in the same two ways as before in Indian file 
and abreast; and at the same time he once again knocked 
two carriages together, and then two engines. He next 
put two swings side by side and, showing me the inner 
part that hung down and swung, said: 'Look how it 
dangles and bumps*. I then proceeded to interpret, and, 

1 I may add that at the end of his analysis, which took up 278 sessions, his 
difficulties had disappeared and there was an extensive change for the better in 
his whole character and disposition. He had lost not only his morbid fears but 
his general timidity and had become a happy and lively child. He had overcome 
his inhibition in play and had begun to get on well with other children, in par- 
ticular with his little brother. His development since has been excellent. Accord- 
ing to the latest accounts of him, six years after the end of his analysis, he was 
doing well at school, was full of interest in things, learned well, and was good 
at games. He was easy to manage and able to meet all the social requirements of 
his age. It is, moreover, worth noting that both during his analysis and in 
the next few years he had to undergo unnaturally great strains on account of 
various upheavals in his family life. 


pointing to the 'dangling' swings, the engines, the car- 
riages and the horses, explained that in each case they 
were two people his Daddy and Mummy bumping 
their 'thingummies' (his word for genitals) together. 1 He 
objected, saying: 'No, that isn't nice', but went on knock- 
ing the carts together, and said: l That's how they bumped 
their thingummies together'. Immediately afterwards he 
spoke about his little brother again. As we have seen, in 
his first hour, too, his knocking together of the two car- 
riages and horses had been followed by his remarking that 
he had got a new little brother. So I continued my inter- 
pretation and said: 'You thought to yourself that Daddy 
and Mummy bumped their thingummies together and 
that made your little brother Fritz be born'. He now took 
another small cart and made all three collide together. I 
explained: 'That's your own thingummy. You wanted to 
bump it with Daddy's and Mummy's thingummies too.* 
He thereupon added a fourth cart and said: 'That's Fritz'. 
He next took two of the smaller carts and put each on to 
an engine. He pointed to a carriage and horse and said: 
'That's Daddy*, and to another and said: 'That's Mummy'. 
He pointed once more to the first carriage and horse and 
said: 'That's me', and to the second one and said: 'That's 
me too', thus illustrating his identification with both par- 
ents in coitus. After this he repeatedly hit the two small 
carts together and told me how he and his little brother 
let two chickens into their bedroom to keep them quiet, 
but that they had knocked about together and spat in 
there. He and Fritz, he added, were not rude gutter boys 
and did not spit. When I told him that the chickens were 
his and Fritz's thingummies bumping into one another 
and spitting that is, masturbating he agreed with me 
after a little resistance. 

I can only refer briefly here to the way in which the child's 
phantasies as set forth in his play became more and more 

1 I always find out beforehand from the child's mother what special words the 
child uses for the genitals, excremental processes, etc., and adopt them in speaking 
to it. For purposes of clearness, however, I shall not reproduce these special words 
in my reports on further cases. 


free under the influence of continual interpretation; how 
the scope of his play gradually widened; and how certain 
details in it were repeated over and over again until they 
were made clear by interpretation, and then gave place to 
fresh details. Just as associations to dream-elements lead 
to the uncovering of the latent content of the dream, so do 
the elements of children's play, which correspond to those 
associations, afford a view of its latent meaning. And play 
analysis, no less than adult analysis, by systematically 
treating the actual situation as a transference-situation and 
establishing its connection with the originally experienced 
or imagined one, gives them the possibility of completely 
living out and working through that original situation 
in phantasy. In doing this, and in uncovering their infantile 
experiences and the original causes of their sexual develop- 
ment, it resolves fixations and corrects errors of develop- 
ment that have disturbed their whole line of growth. 

The next extract I shall give from Peter's case is in- 
tended to show that the interpretations made in the first 
hours were substantiated by further analysis. One day, a 
few weeks later, when one of the toy men happened to fall 
over, Peter flew into a rage. Immediately afterwards he 
asked me how a toy motor was made and why it could 
stand up. He next showed me a toy deer fall over, and then 
said he wanted to urinate. In the lavatory he said to me: 
'I'm doing number one I have got a thingummy'. When 
he was back in the room again he took a toy man, whom 
he called a boy, who was sitting in a little house, which he 
called the lavatory, and stood him in such a way that a 
dog which he placed beside him 'shouldn't see him and 
bite him*. But he placed a toy woman so that she could 
see him, and said: ''Only his Daddy mustn't see him'. Thus 
it was evident that he identified the dog, which was in 
general an object of great fear to him, with his father and 
the defaecating boy with himself. 1 After this he kept on 

1 In Chapter I. I have given my reasons for the view that with children, no 
less than with adults, the analytic situation can only be established and maintained 
so long as a purely analytic attitude is maintained towards the patient. But in 
dealing with children certain modifications of this principle become necessary, 


playing with the motor-car whose construction he had 
already admired, and made it move along. Suddenly he 
asked angrily: 'Whenever is it going to stop?' Next he 
said that some of the toy men he had been using must not 
ride in it, knocked them over, and set them up again with 
their backs to the car, next to which he once more put a 
whole row of cars and carriages, side by side this time. 
He then suddenly expressed a desire to pass stool, but 
contented himself with asking the sitting toy man (the 
defaecating boy) whether he had finished. He again turned 
to the motor-car and began to alternate incessantly be- 
tween admiration and rage at its continaal movement, 
wanting to pass stool and asking the 'boy* if he had done. 
In the analytic hour just described, Peter had been de- 
picting the following things : the toy man, the deer, etc., 
which kept on falling down, represented his own penis 
and its inferiority in comparison to his father's erect 
member. His going to make water immediately after was 
done to prove the contrary to himself and to me. The 

without, however, in any way departing from its essentials. For instance, if a 
very small patient wants to go to the lavatory, and is still unused to doing so 
alone at home, it is my practice to go with him. But I do the least possible for 
him and wait outside the door untS he has finished, being careful then, as on 
all other occasions, to preserve the attitude of friendly reserve which seems as 
necessary for the establishment and maintenance of the analytic situation in 
child analysis as it is in the analysis of adults. It is also essential to subject to 
analytic interpretation the gratification afforded to the patient by the analysis 
itself and the deeper motives that underlie his desire for such a, gratification, and 
to bring them into line with the associations or play which immediately precede 
or follow them. In the case of Peter, for instance, after having made water and 
said: Tm doing number one I have got a thingummy*, he went on to play 
the game with the boy on the lavatory seat. Instructive as his remark was in 
itself, the details of the game which followed it were of still greater interest. 
These were that the father-substitute (the dog) was not to see the boy in the 
lavatory, but the woman <was to see him; and from them we learn the causes of 
Peter's desire to urinate immediately before and his wish that I should be present 
while he did it. In the same way I always analyse very thoroughly the reasons 
why a child assigns this or that role to me in its games of make-believe, or 
requires this or that bit of help for itself or its dolls or animals. To what an 
extent we can establish the analytic situation in treating children can be seen, 
for instance, from the fact that it is the exception for even the youngest ones to 
carry out exhibitionist actions in reality, and that even during periods of the 
strongest positive transference it very seldom happens that a child will climb 
on to my lap or kiss and hug me. Incontinence is also a rare event in the analytic 
hour, even with very small children. 


motor-car which would not stop moving and which aroused 
both his admiration and anger was his father's penis that 
was performing coitus all the time. After feeling admira- 
tion for it he became enraged and wanted to defaecate. 
This was a repetition of his passing stool at the time 
when he had witnessed the primal scene. He had done this 
so as to disturb his parents while they were copulating 
and, in imagination, to harm them with his excrements* 

We must now try to get a rough idea of the general 
significance of Peter's first analytic hours in the light of 
these later interpretations. In putting the motor-cars end 
on together during his very first session, he was making 
reference to his father's powerful penis; in putting them 
side by side he was symbolizing the frequent repetition 
of coitus that is, his father's potency and he did this 
again later by means of the car that kept on moving. The 
rage he had felt at witnessing his parents' coitus was al- 
ready expressed in his first hour by his wanting the two 
horses who were going to sleep to be 'dead and buried', 
and in the affect which accompanied that wish. That these 
pictures of the primal scene with which he began his 
analysis were referable to actual repressed experiences of 
his infancy was proved by his parents' own account to me. 
According to this, the child had only shared their bedroom 
during one period, when he was eighteen months old and 
they were away on their summer holidays. During that 
period he had become especially hard to manage. He had 
slept badly and had begun to be dirty again, although he 
had become almost clean in his habits several months be- 
fore. It appeared that though the railings of his cot did not 
prevent him from seeing his parents have sexual inter- 
course, they made it more difficult, and this was symbol- 
ized by the toy men who were knocked over and then 
placed with their backs to the row of vehicles. The falling 
over of the toys also represented his own feelings of im- 
potence. It appeared that before that summer holiday he 
used to play with his toys exceedingly well, but after it he 
could do nothing with them except break them. As early 


as in his first analytic hour he illustrated the connection be- 
tween the destruction of his toys and his observations of 
coitus. Once, when he had put the motor-cars, which sym- 
bolized his father's penis, in a row side by side and had 
made them run along, he lost his temper and threw them 
all about the room, saying: *We always smash our Christ- 
mas presents straight away; we don't want any*. Smashing 
his toys thus stood in his unconscious for smashing his 
father's genitals. This pleasure in destruction and inhibi- 
tion in play, which he brought into his analysis, were 
gradually overcome and disappeared together with his 
other difficulties during the course of it. 

In uncovering bit by bit the primal scene I was able to 
gain access to Peter's very strong passive homosexual atti- 
tude. After having depicted his parents' coitus he had 
phantasies of coitus between three people. They aroused 
severe anxiety in him and were followed by other phan- 
tasies in which he was being copulated with by his father. 
These were portrayed in a game in which the toy dog or 
motor-car or engine all signifying his father climbed 
on to a cart or a man, which stood for himself. In this pro- 
cess the cart would be injured or the man would have 
something bitten off; and then Peter would show much 
fear of, or great aggressiveness towards, the toy which re- 
presented his father. 

I shall now proceed to discuss some of the more im- 
portant aspects of my technique in the light of the above 
extracts from an actual analysis. As soon as the small patient 
has given me some sort of insight into his complexes 
whether through his games or his drawings or phantasies, 
or merely by his general behaviour I consider that inter- 
pretation can and should begin. This does not run counter 
to the well-tried rule that the analyst should wait till the 
transference is there before he begins interpreting, be- 
cause with children the transference takes place immedi- 
ately, and the analyst will often be given evidence straight 
away of its positive nature. But should the child show shy- 
ness, anxiety or even only a certain distrust, such behaviour 


is to be read as a sign of a negative transference, and this 
makes it still more imperative that interpretation should 
begin as soon as possible. For interpretation reduces the 
patient's negative transference by taking the negative 
affects involved back to their original objects and situation. 
For instance, when Rita, 1 who was a very ambivalent child, 
felt a resistance she at once wanted to leave the room, and 
I had to make an interpretation immediately so as to 
resolve this resistance. As soon as I had explained to her 
the cause of her resistance always carrying it back to its 
original object and situation it was resolved, and she 
would become friendly and trustful again and continue her 
game, supplying in its various details a confirmation of the 
interpretation I had just given. 

In another instance I was able to see with impressive 
clearness the necessity of rapid interpretation. This was in 
the case of Trude, who, it will be remembered, came to me 
for a single hour when she was three and a quarter years 
old, 2 and then had to have her treatment postponed owing 
to external circumstances. This child was very neurotic and 
unusually strongly fixated upon her mother. She came into 
my room full of anxiety and ill-will, and I was obliged to 
analyse her in a low voice with the door open. But soon she 
had given me an idea of the nature of her complexes. She 
insisted upon the flowers in a vase being removed; she 
threw a little toy man out of a cart into which she had 
previously put him and heaped abuse on him; she wanted 
a certain* man with a high hat that figured in a picture- 
book she had brought with her to be taken out of it; and 
she declared that the cushions in the room had been thrown 
into disorder by a dog. My immediate interpretation of 
these utterances in the sense that she desired to do away 
with her father's penis, 3 because it was playing havoc with 

i See Chapter I. * Ibid. 

3 Trude's uncommonly strong castration complex played a very conspicuous 
part and dominated the picture for some time in her analysis. From beneath that 
complex analysis brought to light a further anxiety which proved a more funda- 
mental one that of being attacked by her mother, robbed of the contents of her 
body and her children and severely injured internally. (See Chapter I.) 


her mother (as represented by the vase, the cart, the picture- 
book and the cushion), at once diminished her anxiety 
and she left me in a much more friendly mood than she 
had come, and said at home that she would like to come 
back to me. When, six months later, I was able to resume 
this little girl's analysis once more, it appeared that she had 
remembered the events of her single hour of analysis and 
that my interpretations had effected a certain amount of 
positive transference, or rather, some lessening of the 
negative transference in hen 

Another fundamental principle of play technique is that 
the interpretation must be carried down to a sufficient 
depth to reach the mental layer which is being activ- 
ated. For instance, in his second hour, Peter, after having 
pushed the cars along, laid a toy man on a bench, which he 
called a bed, and then threw him down and said that he was 
dead and done for. He next did the same thing with two 
little men, choosing for the purpose two toys that were 
already damaged. At that time, in conformity with the cur- 
rent material, the interpretation I gave him was that the 
first toy man was his father, whom he wanted to throw out 
of his mother's bed and kill, and that the second man was 
himself to whom his father would do the same. 1 Later on, 
when I was bringing to light the primal scene in all its de- 
tails, Peter recurred in various forms to the theme of the 
two broken men ; but it now appeared that it was deter- 
mined by the anxiety he had felt, in connection with the 
primal scene, in regard to his mother as the castrator. In 
his phantasy she had taken his father's penis inside herself 
and had not given it back; and she thus became an object 
of anxiety for the boy, because in his imagination she now 
carried his father's terrifying penis ( = his father) inside 

Here is another example taken from the same case. In 

1 I may mention that this interpretation like all interpretations of death- 
wishes in the analyses of children aroused very violent resistances in Peter. But 
he brought a confirmation of it in his next hour when he suddenly asked: 'And 
if / were a Daddy and someone wanted to throw me down behind the bed and 
make me dead and done for, what would / think of ii?' 


Peter's second hour my interpretation of the material he 
had brought had been that he and his brother practised 
mutual masturbation. Seven months later, when he was 
four years and four months old, he told me a long dream, 
rich in associative material, from which the following is an 
extract. 'There were two figs in a pig-sty and in his bed too. 
They ate together in the pig-sty. There were also two boys in 

his ted in a boat; but they were quite big^ like Uncle G (a 

grown-up brother of his mother's) and E (an older 

girl friend whom he thought almost grown-up).' Most of 
the associations I got for this dream were verbal ones. 
They showed that the pigs represented himself and his 
brother and that their eating meant mutual fellatio. But they 
also stood for his parents copulating together. It turned out 
that his sexual relations with his brother were based on an 
identification with his mother and father, in which Peter 
took the role of each in turn. After I had interpreted this 
material Peter started his next hour by playing games round 
the basin and taps. He put two pencils on a sponge and 
said : 'This is the boat that Fritz* (his younger brother) 'and 
I got in'. He then put on a deep voice as he often did 
when his super-ego came into action and shouted at the 
two pencils: 'You're not to go about together all the time 
and do disgusting things'. This scolding on the part of his 
super-ego at his brother and himself was also aimed at 

his parents (as represented by his Uncle G and his 

grown-up friend E )* and set free in him affects of 

the same kind as he had felt towards them when he had 
witnessed the primal scene. These were the affects which 
he had already given vent to as early as in his second hour, 
when he wanted the horses that had bumped together to 
be dead and buried. And yet, after seven months, the 
analysis of that material was still in progress. It is clear, 
then, that my first deep-going interpretations had in no 

1 He had selected two long pencils out of a collection of all sizes, thus once 
more expressing- the fact, already elicited by his associations on the day before, 
that the two culprits the pigs were not only himself and his brother but his 
parents too, and that in his mutual masturbation he was identifying himself and 
his brother with them. 


way hindered the elucidation of the connections between 
that experience and the child's whole sexual development 
(and in particular of the way in which it determined the 
course of his relations with his brother), nor prevented a 
working through of the material involved. 

I have brought forward the above examples in order to 
support my view, based on empiric observation, that the 
analyst should not be afraid of making a deep interpretation 
even at the start of the analysis, since the material belong- 
ing to the deep layers of the mind will come back again later 
and be worked through. As I have said before, the function 
of deep-going interpretation is simply to open the door 
to the unconscious, to diminish the anxiety that has been 
stirred up and thus to prepare the way for analytic 

In these pages emphasis has repeatedly been laid upon 
the child's capacity for making a spontaneous transfer- 
ence. This is to some extent due, I think, to the much more 
acute anxiety which it feels in comparison with the adult 
and consequently its greater degree of apprehension. One 
of the greatest, if not the greatest psychological task which 
the child has to achieve, and which takes up the larger 
part of its mental energy, is the mastering of anxiety. Its 
unconscious is therefore primarily interested in objects 
from the point of view of whether they allay anxiety or 
excite it; and according as they do the one or the other it 
will have a positive or a negative transference towards 
them. In small children with a great deal of such appre- 
hension the negative transference is often at once expressed 
as undisguised fear, whereas in older ones, especially those 
in the latency period, it more often takes the form of 
mistrust or reserve or simply dislike. In its struggle 
against its fear of the objects that are closest to it the child 
has a tendency to attach that fear to more distant objects 
(since displacement is one way of dealing with anxiety) 
and to see in them an embodiment of its 'bad' father or 
'bad' mother. For this reason the really neurotic child, 
in whom the feeling of being under a constant threat of 


danger predominates the child who is always on the 
look-out for its 'bad' mother or father will react to every 
stranger with anxiety. 

We must never lose sight of the presence of this appre- 
hension in small children and also, to some degree, in 
older ones. Even if they begin by exhibiting a positive 
attitude in analysis, we must be prepared to come upon 
a negative transference very soon as soon, that is, as any 
complexive material makes its appearance. Immediately 
the analyst detects signs of that negative transference he 
should ensure the continuance of analytic work and estab- 
lish the analytic situation by relating it to himself, at the 
same time referring it back, by means of interpretation, to 
its original objects and situations, and in this way resolve 
a certain quantity of anxiety. His interpretation should 
intervene at some point of urgency in the unconscious 
material and so open a way to the child's unconscious 
mind. Where that point is will be shown by the multi- 
plicity and frequent repetition, often in varied forms, of 
representations of the same *play thought' (in Peter's case, 
for instance, we had in his first analytical hour the alter- 
nating arrangement of vehicles, and the continual knock- 
ing together of the toy horses, carriages, engines, etc.) 
and also by the intensity of feeling attached to such repre- 
sentations, for this is a measure of the affect belonging to 
their content. If the analyst overlooks urgent material of 
this kind, the child will usually break off its game and 
exhibit strong resistance or even open anxiety and not 
infrequently show a desire to run away. Thus by making 
a timely interpretation that is, by interpreting the 
material as soon as it permits of it the analyst can cut 
short the child's anxiety, or rather scale it down, in 
those cases too where the analysis has started with 
a positive transference. Where a negative transference 
is uppermost from the first, or where anxiety or resist- 
ances begin to appear at once, we have already seen the 
absolute necessity of giving interpretations as soon as 


It follows from what has been said that not only a 
timely interpretation but a deep-going one is essential. If 
we have an eye to the full urgency of the material pre- 
sented, we find ourselves obliged to trace not only the 
representational content but also the anxiety and sense of 
guilt associated with it right down to that layer of the 
mind which is being activated. But if we model our- 
selves on the principles of adult analysis and proceed 
first of all to get into contact with the superficial strata of 
the mind those which are nearest to the ego and to 
reality we shall fail in our object of establishing the 
analytical situation and reducing anxiety in the child. 
Repeated experience has convinced me of this. The same 
is true of the mere translation of symbols, of interpreta- 
tions which only deal with the symbolic representation of 
the material and do not concern themselves with the 
anxiety and sense of guilt that are associated with it. An 
interpretation which does not descend to those depths 
which are being activated by the material and the anxiety 
concerned, which does not, that is, attack the place where 
the strongest latent resistance is and endeavour in the 
first place to reduce anxiety where it is most violent and 
most in evidence, will have no effect whatever on the child, 
or will only serve to arouse stronger resistances in it with- 
out being able to resolve them again. But, as I have already 
tried to make clear in my extracts from Peter's analysis, 
in thus penetrating directly to those deep strata of the 
mind we shall not by any means completely resolve the 
anxiety contained there, nor in any way restrict the work 
still to be done in the upper strata, where the child's 
ego and relations to reality have to be analysed. This 
establishment of the child's relations to reality and this 
strengthening of its ego take place only very gradu- 
ally and are a result, not a pre-condition, of analytic 

So far we have been concerned in the main with discuss- 
ing and illustrating the conduct of an early analysis of the 
average kind. I should now like to consider certain less usual 


difficulties which I have met with and which have obliged 
me to adopt special technical methods. The case of Trude, 1 
who exhibited so much anxiety at her very first coming, 
had already pointed to the fact that in such patients 
prompt interpretation was the only means of lessening 
anxiety and setting the analysis in motion. The case of 
Ruth, 2 aged four and a quarter, was still more instructive 
in this connection. She was one of those children whose 
ambivalence shows itself in an over-strong fixation upon 
the mother and certain other women on the one hand, 
and a violent dislike of another set of women, usually 
strangers, on the other. Already at a very early age, for 
instance, she had not been able to get used to a new nurse- 
maid; nor could she make friends at all easily with other 
children. She not only suffered from a great deal of un- 
disguised anxiety which often led to anxiety-attacks and 
from various other neurotic symptoms, but was of a very 
timid disposition in general. In her first analytic session 
she absolutely refused to be left alone with me. I there- 
fore decided to get her elder sister 3 to sit in the room with 
her. My intention was to obtain a positive transference 
from her in the hope of being able eventually to work 
alone with her; but all my attempts, such as simply playing 
with her, encouraging her to talk, etc., were in vain. In 
playing with her toys she would turn only to her sister 
(although the latter effaced herself as much as possible) 
and would ignore me completely. The sister herself told 
me that my efforts were hopeless and that I had no chance 
of gaining the child's confidence even if I were to spend 
weeks on end with her instead of single hours. I therefore 
found myself forced to take other measures measures 
which once more gave striking proof of the efficacy of 

1 See Chapter I. 


3 Actually her stepsister. She was about twenty years Ruth's senior, and a 
very intelligent girl who had herself been analysed. I have had another case in 
which I was obliged to reconcile myself to having a third person present. In both 
cases the arrangement was carried out under exceptionally favourable circum- 
stances; but I may say that, for a number of reasons, I should never recommend 
such a procedure except in the last resort. 


interpretation in reducing the patient's anxiety and nega- 
tive transference. One day while Ruth was once again 
devoting her attention exclusively to her sister, she drew 
a picture of a glass tumbler with some small round balls 
inside and a kind of lid on top. I asked her what the lid 
was for, but she would not answer me. On her sister re- 
peating the question, she said it was *to prevent the balls 
from rolling out'. Before this she had gone through her 
sister's bag and then shut it tightly 'so that nothing should 
fall out of it'. She had done the same with the purse inside 
the bag so as to keep the coins safely shut up. Furthermore, 
the material she was now bringing me had been quite 
clear even in her previous hours. 1 I now made a venture, 
I told Ruth that the balls in the tumbler, the bits of money 
in the purse and the contents of the bag all meant children 
in her Mummy's inside, and that she wanted to keep them 
safely shut up so as not to have any more brothers and 
sisters. The effect of my interpretation was astonishing. 
For the first time Ruth turned her attention to me and 
began to play in a different, less constrained, way. 2 Never- 
theless, it was still not possible for her to be alone with me, 
as she reacted to that situation with anxiety-attacks. Since 
I saw that analysis was steadily diminishing her negative 
transference in favour of a positive one, I decided to go 
on having her sister in the room. After three weeks the 
latter suddenly fell ill and I found myself faced with the 
alternative of stopping the analysis or risking an anxiety- 
attack. With her parents' consent I took the second 
course. The nurse handed the little girl over to me outside 
my room and went away in spite of her tears and screams. 
In this very painful situation I again began by trying to 
soothe the child in a non-analytical, motherly way, as any 
ordinary person would. I tried to comfort her and cheer 

1 In this analysis the child's desire to rob her mother's body, and her con- 
sequent feelings of anxiety and guilt, dominated the picture from the very be- 
ginning. The outbreak of her neurosis, moreover, had followed upon her 
mother's pregnancy and the birth of her younger sister. 

* As has a&eady been said, interpretation has the effect of changing the char- 
acter of the child's play and enabling the representation of its material to become 


her up and make her play with me, but in vain. She did 
just manage to follow me into my room, but once there 
I could do nothing with her. She went quite white and 
screamed and showed all the signs of a severe attack of 
anxiety. Meanwhile I sat down at the toy-table and began 
to- play by myself, 1 all the while describing what I was 
doing to the terrified child, who was now sitting in a 
corner. Following a sudden inspiration, I took as the 
subject of my game the material which she herself had 
produced in the previous hour. At the end of it she had 
played round the wash-basin and had fed her dolls and 
given them huge jugfuls of milk, etc. I now did the same 
kind of thing. I put a doll to sleep and told Ruth I was 
going to give it something to eat and asked her what it 
should be. She interrupted her screams to answer 'milk', 
and I noticed that she made a movement towards her 
mouth with her two fingers (which she had a habit of 
sucking before going to sleep) but quickly took them 
away. I asked her whether she wanted to suck them and 
she said: *Yes, but really and truly*. I understood that she 
wanted to reconstitute the situation as it happened at 
home every evening, so I laid her down on the sofa and, 
at her request, put a rug over her. Thereupon she began 
to suck her fingers. She was still very pale and her eyes 
were shut, but she was visibly calmer and had stopped 
crying. Meanwhile I went on playing with the dolls, 
repeating her game of the hour before. As I was putting 
a wet sponge beside one of them, as she had done, she 
burst out crying again and screamed, 'No, she mustn't 
have the big sponge, that's not for children, that's for 
grown-ups P (I may remark that in her two previous ses- 
sions she had brought up a lot of material concerning her 

1 In especially difficult cases I use this technical device to get the analysis 
started. I have found that when children show their latent anxiety by being 
entirely inaccessible it often helps if I throw out a stimulus-word, as it were, 
by beginning to play myself. I apply this method within the narrowest possible 
limits. For instance, I may build some seats out of bricks and set some little 
figures near them. One child will call them a school and continue the game upon 
that basis; another will look upon them as a theatre and make the figures act 
accordingly, and so on. 


envy of her mother.) I now interpreted this material in 
connection with her protest against the big sponge (which 
represented her father's penis). I showed her in every 
detail how she envied and hated her mother because the 
latter had incorporated her father's penis during coitus, 
and how she wanted to steal his penis and the children 
out of her mother's inside and kill her mother. I explained 
to her that this was why she was frightened and believed 
that she had killed her mother or would be deserted by 
her. I was careful all the while to begin by applying my 
interpretations to the doll showing her as I played with 
it that it was afraid and screaming and telling her the 
reason and then to carry them over from it to herself. 
In this way I established the analytical situation in its 
entirety. While I was doing this Ruth grew much 
quieter, opened her eyes and let me bring the table on 
which I was playing to the sofa and continue my game 
and my interpretations close beside her. Presently she sat 
up and watched my play with growing interest, and even 
began to take part in it herself. When the hour was over 
and the nurse came to fetch the child away, she was 
amazed to find her happy and cheerful and to see her say 
good-bye to me in a friendly and even affectionate way. 
At the beginning of her next hour, when her nurse again 
left her, she showed some anxiety it is true, but she did 
not have a regular anxiety-attack nor burst into tears. She 
immediately took refuge on the sofa and lay on it as she 
had done the day before, with her eyes shut and sucking 
her fingers. I was able to sit down beside her and continue 
my game of the previous hour straight away. The whole 
sequence of events of the day before was recapitulated, 
but in a shortened and mitigated form. And after a few 
sessions of this kind matters had progressed so far that 
the little girl only showed faint traces of an anxiety-attack 
at the beginning of her hour. 

Analysis of Ruth's anxiety-attacks brought out the fact 
that they were a repetition of favor nocturnus^ from which 

1 See Chapter I. 


she had suffered very severely at the age of two. At that 
time her mother had been pregnant, and the little girl's 
wish to steal the new baby out of her mother's body and 
to hurt and kill her herself had brought on a strong sense 
of guilt in the child, in consequence of which she had 
become too strongly fixated upon her mother. Saying 
good-night before she went to sleep meant saying good- 
bye for ever. For, as a result of her desires to rob and kill 
her mother, she was afraid of being abandoned by her 
for ever * or of never seeing her alive again, or of finding, 
in place of the kind and tender mother who was saying 
good-night to her, a 'bad' mother who would attack her 
in the night. These were the reasons, too, why she was 
afraid of being left by herself. Being left alone with me 
meant being abandoned by her 'good' mother; and her 
whole terror of the 'punishing' mother was now trans- 
ferred to me. By analysing this situation and bringing it 
to light I succeeded, as we have seen, in dispelling her 
anxiety-attacks and in making it possible for normal 
analytic work to be begun. 2 

The technique which I employed in analysing Ruth's 
anxiety-attacks proved very effective in another case. Dur- 
ing Trude's analysis 3 her mother fell ill and had to go to a 
nursing-home. This made an interval in her analysis which 
came just when the little girl's sadistic phantasies of attack 

1 In her paper, 'The Genesis of Agoraphobia' (1928), Helene Deutsch points 
out that fear of the mother's death, based upon various hostile wishes against 
her, is one of the commonest forms of infantile neurosis and is closely connected 
with a fear of being separated from her and with home-sickness. 

a Ruth*s treatment was not terminated, for her family had to return to their 
home abroad. Her neurosis, in consequence, was not completely removed. But 
in the 190 sessions she had I was able to effect the following improvements which, 
since I last heard of her, two years after the termination of her analysis, have 
been maintained: her anxiety was greatly lessened, and also, more particularly, 
the various forms of timidity from which she suffered. As a result of this she got 
on better with other children and with grown-up people and was able to adapt 
herself entirely to the requirements of her home and school life. Her fixation upon 
her mother was diminished and her attitude to her father improved. There was 
also a very decided change for the better in her relations to her brother and 
sisters. Her whole development, especially in respect of educability, social 
adaptation and capacity for sublimation, has since been a favourable one. 

* See Chapter I. 


upon her mother dominated the picture. I have already 
described in what detail this child of three and three- 
quarters used to act out these scenes of aggression before 
me, and how, overcome by the anxiety which followed 
upon them, she used to hide herself with the cushions be- 
hind the sofa. But this never led to an actual anxiety-attack. 
When she came back after the interval caused by her 
mother's illness, however, she did have definite anxiety- 
attacks for several days in succession. The attacks only 
brought out her reaction to her aggressive impulses, i.e. 
the fear she felt on account of them. During these attacks 
Trude, like Ruth, would assume a particular position the 
position she used to get into at night when she began to 
have anxiety. She would creep into a corner, tightly clasp- 
ing to her the cushions which she often called her children, 
and would there suck her fingers and wet herself. Here 
again interpretation of her anxiety led to the cessation of 
her anxiety-attacks. 1 

My own subsequent experiences, as well as those of Miss 
M. N. Searl and other child analysts, have borne out the 
usefulness of these technical measures in other cases also. 
In the years of work which have elapsed since the treatment 
of these two cases it has become quite clear to me that the 
essential prerequisite for conducting an early analysis 
and, indeed, a deep-going analysis of older children is 
certainty in grasping the material presented. A correct and 
rapid estimation of the significance of that material, both 
as regards the light it throws on the structure of the case 
and its relation to the patient's affective state at the mo- 
ment, and above all a quick perception of the latent anxiety 

1 Trude's neurosis showed itself in severe night- terrors, in anxiety during the 
daytime when she was left alone, in bed-wetting, general timidity, an over- 
strong fixation on her mother and dislike of her father, great jealousy of her 
brothers and sisters and in various difficulties in her upbringing. Her analysis, 
which comprised eighty-two hours, resulted in a cessation of bed-wetting and a 
great diminution of anxiety and timidity in various respects, and in a very favour- 
able change in her relations to her parents and to her brothers and sisters. She 
had also suffered from colds which proved in analysis to be of psychological 
origin to a great extent, and these, too, decreased in frequency and strength. 
In spite of this improvement her neurosis was not yet fully resolved when, for 
external reasons, her analysis had to come to an end. 


and sense of guilt it contains these are the primary con- 
ditions for giving a right interpretation, i.e. an interpreta- 
tion which will come at the right time and will penetrate 
to that level of the mind which is being activated by 
anxiety. The occurrence of anxiety-attacks in analysis can 
be reduced to a minimum if this technique is consistently 
adhered to. Should anxiety-attacks occur at the beginning 
of treatment, however as may happen with neurotic chil- 
dren who are subject to such attacks in ordinary life a 
faithful and systematic employment of this method will 
usually succeed in quickly reducing them to such propor- 
tions that it becomes possible to conduct a normal analysis 
of the young patient. The results obtained from analysing 
anxiety-attacks are also, I think, evidence of the general 
validity of some of the principles underlying play tech- 
nique. It will be remembered that in Trude's case, al- 
though the material was accompanied by intense anxiety, 
I was able to analyse it to begin with without the occur- 
rence of a regular anxiety-attack, because I could make 
continuous and deep-going interpretations in the first in- 
stance and could thus let the anxiety come out in small 
doses, as it were, and gradually diminish it. Trude's ana- 
lysis had then to be interrupted at an unfavourable time 
and in difficult circumstances, as her mother fell ill and 
had to go away. When she came back to me her anxiety 
had accumulated to such an extent that she did have genu- 
ine anxiety-attacks. After a few analytic sessions, however, 
they entirely ceased and once more gave place to a piece- 
meal emergence of anxiety. 

I should like to add a few remarks of a theoretic nature 
in connection with these anxiety-attacks. I have spoken of 
them as a repetition ofpavor nocturnus\ and I have referred 
to the position taken up by the patient during such attacks, 
or rather in the attempt to master them, and pointed out 
that it was a repetition of the child's anxiety-situation in 
bed at night. But I have also mentioned a specific early 
anxiety-situation which seemed to me to underlie both 
pavor nocturnus and anxiety-attacks. My observation of the 


cases of Trude, Ruth and Rita, together with the know- 
ledge I have gained in the last few years, have led me to 
recognize the existence of an anxiety, or anxiety-situation, 
which is specific for girls and the equivalent of the castra- 
tion anxiety felt by boys. This anxiety-situation culminates 
in the girl's idea of having her body destroyed, its con- 
tents abolished, the children taken out of it, etc., by her 
mother. This subject will be treated more fully in the 
second part of this volume. I should merely like to draw 
the reader's attention here to certain points of agreement 
between the data I have been able to collect from my early 
analyses and one or two statements that Freud has mean- 
while made in his book Hemmung Symptom und Angst 
(1926). In it he states that the counterpart in the small 
girl of the boy's castration fear is her fear of loss of love. 
The material I have brought forward from my analyses of 
small girls shows the existence of such a fear of being left 
alone or deserted by her mother very clearly. But that 
fear, I think, goes back still further. It is based upon the 
child's impulses of aggression against her mother and her 
desires, springing from the early stages of her Oedipus con- 
flict, to kill her and steal from her. These impulses lead 
not only to anxiety or to a fear of being attacked by her 
mother, but to a fear that her mother will abandon her 
or die. 

Let us now return to a consideration of technical ques- 
tions. The/0rw in which interpretation is given is another 
thing of great importance. It should be modelled on the 
concrete way in which children think and speak. 1 Peter, it 

1 In his 'Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria* (1905) Freud says: 
4 It is possible for a man to talk to girls and women upon sexual matters of every 
kind without doing them harm and without bringing suspicion upon himself, 
so long as, in the first place, he adopts a particular way of doing it, and, in the 
second place, can make them feel convinced that it is unavoidable. . . . The best 
way of speaking about such things is to be dry and direct; and that is at the 
same time the method furthest removed from the prurience with which the same 
subjects are handled in "society", . . . J^appelle un chat un chat.' This attitude 
is, mutatis mutandis, the one I adopt in analysing children. I talk of sexual 
matters in the simple words best suited to their way of thought. 

It must further be remembered that children are still for the most part under 
the dominion of the unconscious, whose language, as dreams and play show, is 


will be remembered, pointed to the swing and said : 'Look 
how it dangles and bumps'. And so when I answered: 
'That's how Daddy's and Mummy's thingummies bumped 
together', he took it in without the slightest difficulty. To 
take another instance: Rita (aged two and three-quarters) 
told me that the dolls had disturbed her in her sleep ; they 
kept on saying to Hans, the underground train man (a 
male doll on wheels) : ' Just go on driving your train along'. 
On another occasion she put a triangular brick on one side 
and said: 'That's a little woman'; she then took a 'little 
hammer', as she called another long-shaped brick, and hit 
the brick-box with it exactly in a place where it was only 
stuck together with paper, so that she made a hole in it. 
She said: 'When the hammer hit hard, the little woman 
was so frightened'. Running the underground train and 
hitting with the hammer stood for coitus between her 
parents, which she had witnessed till she was nearly two 
years old. My interpretation, 'Your Daddy hit hard like 
that inside your Mummy with his little hammer, and you 
were so frightened', fitted in exactly with her way of think- 
ing and speaking. 

In describing my methods of analysis I have often 
spoken of the small toys which are put at the children's 
disposal. I should like to explain briefly why these toys 
afford such valuable assistance in the technique of Play 
Analysis. Their smallness, their number and their great 
variety give the child a very wide range of representational 
play, while their very simplicity enables them to be put to 
the most varied uses. Thus toys like these are well suited 
for the expression of phantasies and experiences in all kinds 
of ways and in great detail. The child's various 'play 
thoughts', and the affects associated with them (which we 
partly infer from the subject-matter of its games, partly 

concrete and pictorial. As we have occasion to see over and over again, children 
have a quite different attitude from adults to words. They assess them above all 
according to their imaginative qualities to the pictures and phantasies they 
evoke. If we want to gain access to the child's unconscious in analysis (which, 
of course, we have to do via the ego and through speech), we shall only- succeed 
if we avoid circumlocution and use plain words. 


observe directly), are presented side by side and within a 
small space, so that we get a good oversight of the general 
connections and dynamics of the mental processes that are 
being put before us, and also, since spatial contiguity often 
stands for temporal contiguity, of the time-order of the 
child's various phantasies and experiences. 

It may be thought from what has been said that all we 
have to do in order to analyse a child is to put toys in front 
of it, and that it will then immediately begin to play with 
them in an uninhibited and easy fashion. That is not at all 
what happens. Inhibition in play is, as I have repeatedly 
pointed out, very frequently met with to a greater or lesser 
degree in children and is an extremely common neurotic 
symptom. But it is precisely in such cases, where all other 
attempts to get into contact with the patient fail, that toys 
are so very useful as a means of starting analysis. It rarely 
happens that a child, however inhibited in its play, will not 
at least look at the toys or pick up one or other of them and 
do something with it. Even though it will soon stop play- 
ing as Trude did yet we shall have got some idea of its 
unconscious on which to base our analytic work from hav- 
ing noticed what sort of game it has started, at what point 
its resistance has set in, how it has behaved in connection 
with that resistance, what chance remark it may have 
dropped at the time, and so on. The reader has already 
seen how it is possible for analysis, with the help of inter- 
pretation, to make the child's play more and more free and 
its representational content increasingly rich and fruitful, 
and gradually to effect a reduction of its inhibition in play. 
Toys are not the only requisites for a pky analysis. 
There has to be a quantity of illustrative material in the 
room. The most important of these is a wash-basin with 
running water. This is usually not much used until a fairly 
late stage in the analysis, but it then becomes of great im- 
portance. A child will go through a whole phase of its 
analysis playing round the wash-basin (where are also pro- 
vided a sponge, a glass tumbler, one or two small vessels, 
some spoons and paper). These games with water afford us 


a deep insight into the fundamental pre-genital fixations of 
the child, 1 and are also a means of illustrating its sexual 
theories, giving us a knowledge of the relation between its 
sadistic phantasies and its reaction-formations and showing 
the direct connection between its pre-genital and genital 
impulses. 2 

In many analyses drawing or cutting out play a large 
part. In others especially with girls the child's time is 
mostly spent in making clothes and finery for itself, its dolls 
or its toy animals, or in decking itself with ribbons and 
other ornaments. Each child has within easy reach paper, 
coloured pencils, knives, scissors, needles and thread and bits 
of wood and string. Very frequently children bring their 
own toys with them. Nor does the mere enumeration of the 
actual articles at hand exhaust the possibilities. We gain a 
great deal of light from the various uses to which the child 
will put each one of them 3 or the way in which it will change 
from one game to another. All the ordinary furniture of the 
room as well, such as chairs, cushions, etc., are pressed into 
the service of its activities. In fact, the furniture of the 
child analyst's room has to be specially selected for this 
purpose. The phantasies and imaginative games which de- 
velop out of ordinary play with toys are of great signifi- 
cance. In its games of make-believe the child acts out in its 
own person what in another, usually an earlier, stage of its 
analysis it shows by means of its toys. In these games the 
analyst is usually assigned one or more roles, and my prac- 
tice is to get the child itself to describe those roles to me 
in as great detail as possible. 

Some children show a general preference for games of 
make-believe, others for the more indirect form of repre- 
sentation by means of playthings. Typical games of pre- 
tence are playing at mother and child, at being at school, 

1 Cf. the case of Ruth (p. 53). It was in playing at the wash-basin that she 
brought out most fully her unsatisfied oral desires. 

1 These games with water have a very interesting counterpart in playing with 
fire. Very often a child will first play with water and then go and burn paper and 
matches in the fire, or *uice 'versa. The connection between wetting and burning 
comes out clearly in such behaviour, as well as the great importance of urethral 
sadism. (See Chapter VIII.) 


building or furnishing a house (with the help of chairs, 
pieces of furniture, cushions, etc.), going abroad, travelling 
in the train, going to the theatre, seeing the doctor, being 
in an office, keeping shop, etc. The value of such games of 
pretence from an analytic point of view lies in their direct 
method of representation, and consequently in the greater 
wealth of verbal associations they furnish. For, as has 
already been said in the first chapter, one of the necessary 
conditions of a successfully terminated treatment is that 
the child, however young, should make use of language in 
analysis to the full extent of its capacity. 

No mere description, I feel, can do justice to the colour, 
life and complexity which fill the hours of play analysis, 
but I hope I have said enough to give the reader some idea 
of the accuracy and reliability of the results which we 
are able to attain by this means. 



IN the last chapter we have dealt with the underlying 
principles of the technique of Early Analysis. In the 
present one we shall compare that technique with the 
technique of analysis in the latency period, using a case- 
history as an illustration. This case-history will also give us 
an opportunity of discussing certain questions of general 
and theoretical importance in the first place, and in the 
second of describing the methods used in the analysis of 
obsessional neurosis in children a technique which, I 
may say, was evolved in the course of treating this un- 
usually difficult and interesting case. 

Erna, a child of six, had a number of severe symptoms. 
She suffered from sleeplessness, which was caused partly by 
anxiety (in particular by a fear of robbers and burglars) and 
partly by a series of obsessional activities. These consisted 
in lying on her face and banging her head on the pillow, 
in making a rocking movement, during which she sat or 
lay on her back, in obsessional thumb-sucking and in ex- 
cessive masturbation. All these obsessional activities, 
which prevented her from sleeping at night, were carried 
on in the day-time as well. This was especially the case 
with masturbation, which she practised even in the pre- 
sence of strangers, and, for instance, almost continuously 
at her kindergarten. She suffered from severe depres- 

1 This chapter is based on a paper read by me at Wiirzburg in October 
1924, at the First Conference of German Psycho-Analysts. 

65 E 


sions, which she would describe by saying: 'There's some- 
thing I don't like about life'. In her relations to her mother 
she was over-affectionate, but would at times veer round to 
a hostile attitude. She completely dominated her mother, 
left her no freedom of movement and plagued her con- 
tinually with her love and hatred. As her mother put it: 
'She swallows me up*. The child might, too, be fairly de- 
scribed as ineducable. Obsessive brooding and a curiously 
unchildlike nature were depicted in the suffering look upon 
the little girl's face. Besides this she made an impression 
of being unusually precocious sexually. A symptom which 
first became obvious during the analysis was that she had 
a very severe inhibition in learning. She was sent to school 
a few months after her analysis began, and it was soon 
evident that she was incapable of learning and could adapt 
herself neither to school nor to her school-fellows. The fact 
that she herself felt that she was ill at the very beginning 
of her treatment she begged me to help her was of great 
assistance to me in analysing hen 

Erna began her play by taking a small carriage which 
stood on the little table among the other toys and pushing 
it towards me. She declared that slie had come to fetch me. 
But she put a toy woman in the carriage instead and added 
a toy man. The two loved and kissed one another and drove 
up and down all the time. Next a toy man in another car- 
riage collided with them, ran over them and killed them 
and then roasted and ate them up. Another time the fight 
had a different end and the attacking toy man was thrown 
down ; but the woman helped him and comforted him. She 
got a divorce from her first husband and married the new 
one. This third person was given the most various parts to 
play in Erna's games. For instance, the original man and 
his wife were in a house which they were defending against 
a burglar; the third person was the burglar, and slipped in. 
The house burnt down, the man and woman burst and the 
third person was the only one left. Then again the third 
person was a brother who came on a visit; but while em- 
bracing the woman he bit her nose off. This little man, the 


third person, was Erna herself. In a series of similar games 
she represented her wish to oust her father from his posi- 
tion with her mother. On the other hand, in many other 
games she showed her direct Oedipus wish to get rid of her 
mother and to win her father. Thus she made a toy teacher 
give the children violin lessons by knocking his head 1 
against the violin, or stand on his head as he was reading 
out of a book. She then made him throw down book or 
violin as the case might be and dance with his girl pupil. 
The two next kissed and embraced each other. At this 
point Erna asked me all at once if I would allow a marriage 
between teacher and pupil. Another time a teacher and a 
mistress represented by a toy man and woman were 
giving the children lessons in manners, teaching them how 
to bow and curtsey, etc. At first the children were obedient 
and polite (just as Erna herself always did her best to be 
good and behave nicely), then suddenly they attacked the 
teacher and mistress, trampled them underfoot and killed 
and roasted them. They had now become devils, and 
gloated over the torments of their victims. But all at once 
the teacher and mistress were in heaven and the former 
devils had turned into angels, who, according to Erna's 
account, knew nothing about ever having been devils in- 
deed 'they never were devils'. God the Father, the former 
teacher, began kissing and embracing the woman passion- 
ately, the angels worshipped them and all was well again 
though before long things were sure to go wrong again 
one way or another. 

Erna used very often to play at being mother. I was the 
child, and one of my greatest faults was thumb-sucking. 
The first thing which I was supposed to put into my mouth 
was an engine. She had already much admired its gilded 
lamps, saying, 'They're so lovely, all red and burning', 
and at the same time putting them into her mouth and 

1 Compare her obsessional symptom of banging her head on the pillow. Here 
is another game which shows clearly that to Erna's unconscious the head had 
the meaning of a penis: a toy man wanted to get into a car and stuck his head 
into the window, whereupon the car said to him, 'Better come right inside!* The 
car stood for her mother inviting her father to have coitus with her. 


sucking them. They stood to her for her mother's breast 
and her father's penis. These games were invariably fol- 
lowed by outbreaks of rage, envy and aggression against 
her mother, to be succeeded by remorse and by attempts 
to make amends and placate her. In playing with bricks, 
for instance, she would divide them between us so that 
she had more bricks than I; then she would make up 
for this by taking fewer herself, but would nevertheless 
always manage to keep more in the end. If I had to build 
with my bricks it was only so that she might prove how 
much more beautiful her building was than mine or so that 
she might knock mine down, apparently by accident. She 
would sometimes make a toy man be judge and decide that 
her house was better than mine. From the details of the 
game it was apparent that she was giving expression to a 
long-standing rivalry with her mother in this business 
about our respective houses. In a later part of her analysis 
she brought out her rivalry in a direct form. 

Besides playing these games she also began cutting out 
paper and making paper patterns. She told me once that 
it was 'hash' she was making and that blood was coming 
out of the paper ; upon which she gave a shudder and said 
she felt bad all at once. On one occasion she talked about 
'eye-salad', and on another she said that she was cutting 
'fringes' in my nose. She was here repeating the wish to 
bite off my nose which she had expressed in her very first 
hour. (And indeed she made a number of attempts to carry 
out her wish.) By this means she also showed her identity 
with the 'third person', the toy man who broke in and set 
fire to the house, etc., and who bit off noses. In her analysis, 
as in that of other children, cutting out paper proved to be 
very variously determined. It gave outlet to sadistic and 
cannibalistic impulses and represented the destruction of 
her parents' genitals or her mother's whole body. At the 
same time, however, it expressed her reactive impulses as 
well, because in the thing cut out a pretty mat, let us 
say what had been destroyed was re-created. 

From cutting out paper Erna went on to playing with 


water, A small piece of paper floating in the basin was a 
captain whose ship had gone down. He was able to save 
himself because so Erna declared he had something 
'long and golden' which held him up in the water. She 
then tore off his head and announced: 'His head's gone; 
now he's drowned*. These games with water led deep into 
the analysis of her oral-sadistic, urethral-sadistic and anal- 
sadistic phantasies. Thus, for instance, she played at being 
a washerwoman, and used some pieces of paper to repre- 
sent a child's dirty linen. I was the child and had to dirty 
my underclothes over and over again. (Incidentally, Erna 
brought her cophrophilic and cannibalistic impulses clearly 
to view by chewing up the pieces of paper, which repre- 
sented excrements and children as well as dirty linen.) As 
a washerwoman Erna also had many opportunities of pun- 
ishing and humiliating the child, and played the part of the 
cruel mother. But since she also identified herself with the 
child, she was gratifying her masochistic wishes as well. 
She would often pretend that the mother made the father 
punish the child and beat it on the bottom. This punish- 
ment was recommended by Erna, in her role of washer- 
woman, as a means of curing the child of its love of dirt. 
Once, instead of the father, a magician came along. He hit 
the child on the anus and then on the head with a stick, and 
as he did so a yellowish fluid poured out of the magic wand. 
On another occasion the child a quite little one this time 
was given a powder to take, which was 'red and white' 
mixed together. This treatment made it quite clean, and it 
was suddenly able to talk, and became as clever as its 
mother. 1 The magician stood for the penis, and hitting 
with the stick meant coitus. The fluid and the powder re- 
presented urine, faeces, semen and blood, all of which, 
according to Erna's phantasies, her mother put inside 
herself in copulation through her mouth, anus and 

Another time Erna suddenly changed herself from a 

1 These phantasies relate to the penis in its 'good* and curative aspect. ID 
Chapters XI. and XII. we shall deal with this point more fully. 


washerwoman into a fishwife and began to cry her wares. 
In the course of this game she turned on the water-tap 
(which she used also to call the 'whipped cream tap') after 
wrapping some paper round it. When the paper was soaked 
through and fell into the basin she tore it up and offered 
it for sale as fish. The compulsive greed with which Erna 
drank from the water-tap during this game and chewed up 
the imaginary fish pointed very clearly to the oral envy 
which she had felt during the primal scene and in her 
primal phantasies. This envy had affected the development 
of her character very deeply, and was also a central feature 
of her neurosis. 1 The equation of the fish with her father's 
penis, as well as with faeces and children, was very obvious 
in her associations. Erna had a variety of fish for sale and 
amongst them some 'KokelfisK or, as she suddenly called 
them, "Kakelfisfi? While she was cutting these up she had 
a sudden wish to defaecate, and this showed that the fish 
were equivalent to faeces, while cutting them up was 
equated with the act of defaecation. As the fishwife, Erna 
cheated me in all sorts of ways. She took large quantities 
of money from me and gave me no fish in return. I was 
helpless against her, because she was assisted by a police- 
man; and together they Vurled' 3 the money, which also 
stood for fish, she had got from me. This policeman re- 
presented her father with whom she copulated and who 
was her ally against her mother. I had to look on while she 
Vurled' the money, or fish, with the policeman, and then 
I had to try to get possession of it by stealth. In fact, I had 
to pretend to do what she herself had wanted to do to her 
mother when she had witnessed her mother and father 
having sexual intercourse. These sadistic impulses and 
phantasies were at the bottom of her severe anxiety in 
regard to her mother. She repeatedly expressed fear of 
a 'robber woman' who would 'take out everything inside 

1 We shall discuss later on the connection between Erna's observations of her 
parents* sexual intercourse and her own neurosis. 

* *Kakt *faeces* in nursery German. 

* An invented word resembling the German word for whipping cream. 


The symbolic meaning of the theatre and performances 
of all kinds, as signifying coitus between the parents, came 
out very clearly in Erna's analysis. 1 The numerous per- 
formances in which she was an actress or a dancer, admired 
by all the spectators, showed the immense admiration an 
admiration mixed with envy which she had for her 
mother. Often, too, in identification with her mother, she 
pretended to be a queen before whom everyone bowed 
down. In all these representations it was always the child 
who got the worst of it. Everything which Erna did in the 
role of her mother the tenderness she showed to her hus- 
band, the way in which she dressed herself up and allowed 
herself to be admired had one chief purpose, which was to 
arouse the child's envy and to wound its feelings. Thus, for 
instance, when she, as queen, had celebrated her marriage 
with the king, she lay down on the sofa and wanted me, as 
the king, to lie down beside her. As I refused to do this I 
had to sit on a little chair by her side instead and hit the 
sofa with my fist. This she called 'churning', and it meant 
copulating. Immediately after this she announced that a 
child was creeping out of her, and she represented the scene 
in a quite realistic way, writhing about and groaning. Her 
imaginary child then shared its parents' bedroom and had to 
be a spectator of sexual intercourse between them. If it in- 
terrupted it was beaten, and the mother kept on complain- 
ing of it to the father. If she, as the mother, put the child 
to bed it was only in order to get rid of it and to be able 
to get back to the father all the sooner. The child was 
incessantly being maltreated and tormented. It was given 
gruel to eat that was so nasty as to make it sick, while at 
the same time its mother and father were enjoying mar- 
vellous foods made of whipped cream or a special milk 
prepared by Dr. Whippo or Whippour a name com- 
pounded from * whipping' and * pouring out'. This special 
food, which was eaten only by the father and mother, was 

1 In my paper, * Infant Analysis* (1923), I have considered in greater detail the 
universal symbolic significance of the theatre, performances, productions, etc., 
as representing intercourse between the parents. I may also refer to Rank, *Das 
Schauspiel im Hamlet* (1919). 


used in endless variations to represent the exchange of sub- 
stances during coition. Erna's phantasies that in coition her 
mother incorporated her father's penis and semen and her 
father incorporated her mother's breasts and milk formed 
the basis of her hatred and envy against her two parents. 

In one of Erna's games a 'performance* was given by a 
priest. He turned on the water-tap, and his partner, a 
woman dancer, drank from it. The child, called Cinderella, 
was only allowed to look on and had to remain absolutely 
motionless. A sudden tremendous outbreak of anger on 
Erna's part at this point showed with what feelings of 
hatred her phantasies were accompanied and how badly 
she had succeeded in dealing with those feelings. Her 
whole relationship to her mother had been distorted by 
them. Every educational measure, every act of nursery dis- 
cipline, every unavoidable frustration, was felt by her as a 
purely sadistic act on the part of her mother, done with a 
view to humiliating and ill-treating her. 

Nevertheless, in her make-believe of being a mother 
Erna did show affection to her imaginary child so long 
as it was still only a baby. Then she would nurse and wash 
it and be tender to it, and even forgive it when it was 
dirty. This was because, in her view, she herself had only 
been treated lovingly as long as she was an infant in arms. 
To her older 'child' she would be most cruel, and would 
let it be tortured by devils in a variety of ways and in the 
end be killed. 1 That the child was also the mother turned 
into a child, however, was made clear by the following 
phantasy. Erna played at being a child that had dirtied 
itself, and I, as the mother, had to scold her, whereupon 

1 Where, as in this case, the child's fury against its object is really excessive, 
the fundamental situation is that the super-ego has turned against the id. The 
ego escapes from this intolerable situation by means of a projection. It presents 
the object as an enemy m order that the id can destroy it in a sadistic way with 
the consent of the super-ego. If the ego can effect an alliance between the super- 
ego and the id by this means, it can for the time being send out the sadism of 
the super-ego that was directed against the id into the external world. In this 
way the primary sadistic impulses which are directed against the object are 
increased by the hatred originally directed against the id. (Cf. Chapter VIII. and 
also my paper, Tersonification m the Play of Children*, 1929.) 


she became insolent, and out of defiance dirtied herself 
more and more. In order to annoy the mother still further 
she vomited up the bad food I had given her. The father 
was then called in by the mother, but he took the child's 
side. Next the mother was seized with an illness called 
'God has spoken to her'; then the child in turn got an 
illness called Mother's agitation 5 and died of it, and the 
mother was killed by the father as a punishment. The 
child then came to life again and was married to the father, 
who kept on praising it at the expense of the mother. The 
mother was then brought to life again too, but, as a pun- 
ishment, was turned into a child by the father with the 
help of his magic wand; and now she in turn had to suffer 
all the scorn and ill-treatment to which the child had been 
subjected before. In her numerous phantasies of this kind 
about a mother and a child Erna was repeating what she 
felt her own experiences had been, while on the other hand 
she was also expressing the sadistic things she would like 
to do to her mother if the child-mother relationship were 

Erna's mental life was dominated by anal-sadistic phan- 
tasies. At a later stage of her analysis, starting, once more, 
from games connected with water, she produced phantasies 
in which faeces 'baked on' to dirty clothes were cooked 
and eaten. Again, she played that she was sitting in the 
lavatory and eating what she produced there, or that we 
were handing it to one another to eat. Her phantasies about 
our continually dirtying each other with urine and faeces 
came out more and more clearly in the course of the ana- 
lysis. In one game she demonstrated that her mother had 
dirtied herself over and over again and that everything in 
the room had been turned into faeces through her mother's 
fault. Her mother was accordingly thrown into prison and 
starved there. She herself then had the job of cleaning 
up after her mother, and in that connection called herself 
'Mrs. Dirt Parade' that is, a person parading with dirt. 
Through her love of tidiness she won the admiration and 
recognition of her father, who set her high above her mother 


and married her. She did his cooking for him. The drinks 
and food which they gave one another were once more urine 
and faeces, but this time a good kind instead of a harmful 
one. The above will serve as an example of the numer- 
ous and extravagant anal-sadistic phantasies which became 
conscious in the course of her analysis. 

Erna, who was an only child, was much occupied in her 
imagination with the arrival of brothers and sisters. Her 
phantasies in this context deserve special attention, since, 
so far as my observations show, they have a general applica- 
tion. Judging from them and from those of other chil- 
dren similarly situated, it would appear that an only child 
suffers to a far greater extent than other children from the 
anxiety it feels in regard to the brother or sister whom it 
is forever expecting, and from the feelings of guilt it has 
towards them on account of its unconscious impulses of 
aggression against them in their imaginary existence inside 
its mother's body, because it has no opportunity of develop- 
ing a positive relation to them in reality. This fact often 
makes it more difficult for an only child to adapt itself to 
society. For a long time Erna used to have attacks of rage 
and anxiety at the beginning and end of her analytic hour 
with me, and these were in part occasioned by her meeting 
the child who came to me for treatment immediately before 
or after her and who stood to her for the brother or sister 
whose arrival she was always awaiting. 1 On the other hand, 
although she got on badly with other children, she felt a 
great need for their society at times. Her occasional wish 
for a brother or sister was, I found, determined by a 
number of motives, (i) The brothers and sisters which 
she desired meant a child of her own. This wish, however, 
was soon disturbed by severe feelings of guilt, because it 
would have meant that she had stolen the child from her 
mother. (2) Their existence would have reassured her that 
the attacks she had made in her phantasy on the children 

1 As Erna had no brothers or sisters in real life, her unconscious fear and 
jealousy of them which played such an important part in her mental life were 
only revealed and lived through in the analysis. This is once more an example 
of the importance of the transference-situation in child analyses. 


which she supposed to be inside her mother had damaged 
neither them nor her mother, and that consequently the 
interior of her own body was unharmed. (3) They would 
afford her the sexual gratification which her father and 
mother had denied her; and, most important of all, (4) 
they would be her confederates, not only in sexual doings, 
but in enterprises against her terrifying parents. They and 
she together would kill her mother and capture her 
father's penis. 1 

But these phantasies of Erna's would quickly be fol- 
lowed by feelings of hatred against her imaginary brothers 
and sisters for they were, ultimately, only substitutes 
for her father and mother and by very severe feelings 
of guilt on account of the destructive acts she and they 
had committed against her parents in her phantasies. 
And she would usually end by having an attack of de- 

These phantasies, too, had their share in making it impos- 
sible for Erna to get on to good terms with other children. 
She shrank from them because she identified them with 
her imaginary brothers and sisters, so that on the one hand 
she regarded them as accomplices in her attacks upon her 
parents, and on the other she feared them as enemies 
because of her own aggressive impulses towards those 
brothers and sisters. 

Erna's case throws light on another factor which seems 
to me to be of general importance. In the first chapter I 
drew attention to the peculiar relationship that children 
have to reality. I pointed out that failure in making a cor- 
rect adaptation to reality could, in analysis, be recognized 
in the play of quite small children, and that it was necessary 
in analysis gradually to bring even the youngest child into 
complete touch with reality. With Erna, even after a 
good deal of analysis had been done, I had not succeeded 

1 In my paper, 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928), I have pointed 
out that children, in their sexual relations with one another, especially if they 
are brothers and sisters, have phantasies of being- in league together against their 
parents and often experience a diminution of their anxiety and sense of guilt 
from this belief. For a further discussion of this point see Chapter XII. 


in obtaining any detailed information about her real life. 
I got plenty of material regarding her extravagant sadistic 
impulses against her mother, but I never heard the least 
complaint or criticism from her about her real mother and 
what she actually did. Although Erna got to recognize that 
her phantasies were directed against her own mother a 
fact which she had denied at an earlier stage of analysis 
and although it became clearer and clearer that she copied 
her mother in an exaggerated and invidious manner, yet it 
was difficult to establish the connection between her phan- 
tasies and reality. All my efforts to draw her actual life more 
fully into the analysis remained ineffective, until I had made 
definite progress in analysing her deepest reasons for want- 
ing to cut herself off from reality. Erna's relationship to 
reality proved to be largely a facade, and this to a far greater 
extent than her behaviour would have led one to expect. 
The truth was that she was trying by every means to main- 
tain a dream world in existence and to protect it from 
reality. 1 For instance, she used to imagine that the toy 
carriages and coachmen were in her service, that they came 
at her command and brought her everything she wished, 
that the toy women were her servants, and so on. Even 
while these phantasies were in progress she would often be 
seized with rage and depression. She would then go to the 
lavatory and there phantasy aloud while she defaecated. 
When she came out of the lavatory she would fling herself 
on to the sofa and begin to suck her thumb passionately, to 
masturbate and to pick her nose. I succeeded in getting 
her to tell me the phantasies which accompanied this de- 
faecation, thumb-sucking, masturbation and nose-picking. 
By means of these physical satisfactions and the phantasies 
bound up with them she was endeavouring forcibly to con- 
tinue the same day-dreaming situation which she had been 
keeping up in her game. The depression, anger and 
anxiety which seized her during her play were due to a 
disturbance of her phantasies by some incursion of reality. 

1 Many children make only an apparent return to reality when their games 
are interrupted. Actually they are still occupied with their phantasies. 


She remembered, too, how greatly she was put out if any- 
one came near her bed in the morning while she was thumb- 
sucking or masturbating. The reason for this was not only 
that she was afraid of being caught, but that she wanted 
to ward off reality. A pseudologia^ which appeared during 
her analysis and grew to fantastic proportions, served the 
purpose of re-shaping to her desires a reality which was 
intolerable to her. This extraordinary cutting-off of reality 
to which end she also employed megalomanic phan- 
tasies had one cause, I found, in her excessive fear of her 
parents, especially her mother. It was in order to lessen 
this fear that Erna was driven to imagine herself as a 
powerful and harsh mistress over her mother, and this led 
to a great intensification of her sadism. 

Erna's phantasies of being cruelly persecuted by her 
mother began to show their paranoid character more dis- 
tinctly. As I have already said, she looked upon every step 
taken in her education and upbringing, even down to the 
least details of her clothing, as an act of persecution on the 
part of her mother. Not only so, but everything else that 
her mother did the way she behaved towards her father, 
the things she did for her own amusement, and soon were 
felt by Erna as a persecution of herself. Moreover, she felt 
herself continually spied upon. One cause of her excessive 
fixation upon her mother was the compulsion she was 
under of continually keeping watch over her. Analysis 
showed that Erna felt responsible for every illness that her 
mother had, and expected a corresponding punishment be- 
cause of her own aggressive phantasies. The action of an 
over-severe and cruel super-ego in her was apparent in 
many of the details of her games and phantasies, as they 
perpetually alternated between the severe, punishing 
mother and the hating child. It needed a very deep-going 
analysis to elucidate these phantasies, which were identical 
with what, in adult paranoiacs, are known as delusions. 
The experience I have gained since I first wrote down this 
case-history has led me to the view that the peculiar char- 
acter of Erna's anxiety, of her phantasies and of her rela- 


tion to reality, is typical of those cases in which strong 
paranoic traits are active. 1 

At this point I must draw attention to Erna's homo- 
sexual tendencies, which had been excessively strong from 
early childhood onwards. After a great amount of her 
hatred of her father, arising out of the Oedipus situation, 
had been analysed, those tendencies, though undoubtedly 
diminished, were still very strong and seemed at first in- 
capable of being resolved any further. It was only after 
obstinate and lengthy resistances had been broken down 
that the real character and full strength of her persecution 
phantasies and their relation to her homosexuality came to 
light. Anal love desires now emerged much clearer in their 
positive form, alternately with her phantasies of persecution. 
Erna once more played at being a shopwoman (and that 
what she sold was faeces was obvious from the fact that right 
at the beginning of the game she had to interrupt it in order 
to go and defaecate). I was a customer and had to prefer her 
to all other shopkeepers and think her wares particularly 
good. Then she was the customer and loved me, and in this 
way she represented an anal love relationship between her 
mother and herself. These anal phantasies were soon in- 
terrupted by fits of depression an4 hatred which she chiefly 
directed against me but which were actually aimed at her 
mother. In this connection Erna produced phantasies of 
a flea which was 'black and yellow mixed* and which she 
herself at once recognized as a bit of faeces dangerous, 
poisoned faeces, it turned out. This flea, she said, came out 
of my anus and forced its way into hers and injured her. 2 

In Erna's case I was able to ascertain beyond doubt the 

1 Fuller consideration is given to this subject in the second part of this volume. 

* In his 'Short Study of the Development of the Libido* (1924) Abraham 
says: 'Both van Ophuijsen' (in his paper 'On the Origin of the Feeling of 
Persecution*, 1920) *and Starcke' (in his paper, 'The Reversal of the Libido- 
Sign in Delusions of Persecution*, 1919) 'discovered during the course of their 
psycho-analytic practice that in paranoia the "persecutor" can be traced back 
to the patient's unconscious image of the faeces in his intestines which he identi- 
fies with the penis of the "persecutor**, i.e. the person of his own sex whom he 
originally loved. Thus in paranoia the patient represents his persecutor by a 
part of his body, and believes that he is carrying it within himself. He would 
like to get rid of that foreign body but cannot.* 


presence of phenomena familiar to us as underlying de- 
lusions of persecution, i.e. a transformation of love for the 
parent of the same sex into hatred, and an unusual promin- 
ence of the mechanism of projection. Further analysis, 
however, revealed the fact that beneath Erna's homosexual 
attitude, at an even deeper level, lay an extraordinarily 
intense feeling of hatred against her mother, derived 
from her early Oedipus situation and her oral sadism. 
This hatred had as its result an excessive anxiety which, 
in its turn, was a determining factor in every detail of her 
phantasies of persecution. We now came to a fresh lot of 
sadistic phantasies which in the intensity of their sadism 
exceeded anything which I had as yet come across in 
Erna's analysis. This was the most difficult part of the 
work and taxed Erna's willingness to co-operate in it to 
the utmost, since it was accompanied by extreme anxiety. 
Her oral envy of the genital and oral gratifications which 
she supposed her parents to be enjoying during intercourse 
proved to be the deepest foundation of her hatred. She 
gave expression to that hatred over and over again in 
countless phantasies directed against her parents united in 
copulation. In these phantasies she attacked them, and 
especially her mother, by means of her excrements, among 
other things; and what most deeply underlay her fear of 
my faeces (the flea), which she thought of as being pushed 
into her, were phantasies of herself destroying her mother's 
inside with her own dangerous and poisoned faeces. 1 

After these sadistic phantasies and impulses belonging 
to a very early stage of development had been further 
analysed, Erna's homosexual fixation upon her mother was 
lessened and her heterosexual impulses grew stronger. 

1 As I have later found in the course of my analytic work, the child's fears 
of poisoned and dangerous excrement increase its fixation at the pre-genital 
levels by being a constant incentive to it to convince itself that those excrements 
both its own and those of its objects are not dangerous but 'good* things 
(cf. Chapter VIII. of this volume). This is why Erna pretended that we were 
giving one another 'good* anal presents and loved one another. But the states 
of depression which followed upon these games of supposed love showed that 
at bottom she was terrified and believed that we that is, her mother and she 
were persecuting and poisoning each other. 


Up till now the essential determinant of her phantasies 
had been her attitude of hatred and love towards her 
mother. Her father had figured chiefly as a mere instru- 
ment for coitus ; he seemed to derive his whole importance 
from the mother-daughter relationship. In her imagina- 
tion every sign of affection her mother showed her father, 
and indeed her whole relationship to him, had served no 
other purpose than to defraud her, Erna, make her jeal- 
ous and set her father against her. In the same way, in 
those phantasies in which she deprived her mother of her 
father and married him, all the stress had been laid on her 
hatred of her mother and her wish to mortify her. If in 
games of this type Erna was affectionate to her husband, 
it would soon appear that the tenderness was only a pre- 
tence, designed to hurt her rival's feelings. At the same 
time as she made these important steps in her analysis 
she also moved forward in her relations to him and 
began to entertain genuine feelings for him of a posi- 
tive nature. Now that the situation was not governed 
so completely by hate and fear, the direct Oedipus rela- 
tionship could establish itself. At the same time Erna's 
fixation upon her mother was lessened and her relation- 
ship to her, which had hitherto been so ambivalent, was 
improved. This alteration in the girl's attitude to both her 
parents was based upon great changes in her phantasy-life. 
Her sadism was diminished, and her phantasies of perse- 
cution were far fewer in number and less in intensity. 
Important changes, too, occurred in her relationship to 
reality, and these made themselves felt, among other things, 
in an increased infiltration of reality into her phantasies. 

In this period of her analysis, after having represented 
her ideas of persecution in play, Erna would often say 
with astonishment: 'But Mother can't really have meant 
to do that? She's very fond of me really' But as her con- 
tact with reality became stronger and her unconscious 
hatred of her mother more conscious, she began to criti- 
cize her as a real person with ever greater openness. At 
the same time her relations with her improved, and hand 


in hand with this improvement there appeared genuinely 
motherly and tender feelings in her attitude towards her 
imaginary child. On one occasion, after having been very 
cruel to it, she asked in a deeply moved voice: 'Should I 
really have treated my children like that?* Thus the analy- 
sis of her ideas of persecution and the diminution of her 
, anxiety had succeeded not only in strengthening her 
heterosexual position but in improving her relations to 
her mother and in enabling her to have more maternal 
feelings herself. I should like to say here that in my 
opinion the satisfactory regulation of these fundamental 
attitudes, which determine the child's later choice of a love- 
object and the whole course of its future life, is one of the 
criteria of a successful child analysis. 

Erna's neurosis had appeared very early in her life. Be- 
fore she was quite a year old she showed marked signs of 
illness. (Mentally, she was an unusually precocious child, 
it may be remarked.) From that time on her difficulties 
increased continually, so that by the time she was between 
two and three years old her upbringing had become an 
insoluble problem, her character was already abnormal, 
and she was suffering from a definite obsessional neurosis. 
Yet it was not until she was about four years old that the 
unusual nature of her masturbatory habits and thumb- 
sucking was recognized. It will be seen, then, that this 
six-year-old child's obsessional neurosis was already a 
chronic one. Pictures of her at the age of about three show 
her with the same neurotic, worried look upon her face 
that she had when she was six, 

I should like to impress upon the reader the unusual 
severity of the case. The obsessional symptoms, which 
amongst other things deprived the child almost entirely 
of sleep, the depressions and other signs of illness, and 
the abnormal development of her character, were only a 
weak reflection of the entirely abnormal, extravagant and 
uncurbed instinctual life which lay behind them. The 
future prospects of an obsessional neurosis which, like this 
one, had for years been of a progressive character could 



not be described as other than decidedly ^gloomy. It may 
safely be asserted that the only remedy in a case of this 
kind was a timely treatment by psycho-analysis. 

We shall now enter into the structure of the case in 
greater detail. Erna's training in habits of cleanliness had 
presented no difficulty and had been completed unusually 
early, by the time she was a year old. No severity had been 
necessary: the ambition of a precocious child had been a 
powerful incentive to the speedy attainment of the re- 
quired standards of cleanliness. 1 But this outward success 
went along with a complete internal failure. Erna's tre- 
mendous anal-sadistic phantasies showed to what a degree 
she remained fixated at that stage and how much hatred 
and ambivalence flowed from it. One factor in this failure 
was a constitutionally strong anal-sadistic disposition ; but 
an important part was played by another factor one 
which has been pointed out by Freud 2 as having a share 
in the predisposition to obsessional neurosis, namely, a too 
rapid development of the ego in comparison with the libido. 
Besides this, analysis showed that another critical phase 
in Erna's development had been passed through with only 
apparent success. She had never got over her weaning. 
And there was yet a third privation which she underwent 
subsequently to this. When she was between six and nine 
months old her mother had noticed with what evident 
sexual pleasure she responded to the care of her body and 
especially to the cleansing of her genitals and of her anus. 
The over-excitability of her genital zone was unmistak- 
able. Her mother therefore exercised greater discretion in 
washing those parts, and the older and the cleaner the 
child grew the easier, of course, it was to do so. But the 
child, who had looked upon the earlier and more elaborate 
attention as a form of seduction, felt this later reticence 
as a frustration. This feeling of being seduced, behind 

1 What some of the sources of Erna's early ambition in this line "were can be 
inferred from the phantasies in which she outdid her mother in cleanliness and 
was called 'Mrs. Dirt Parade* by her father and married by him on account of 
it, while her mother had to starve in prison. 

1 *The Predisposition to Obsessional Neurosis* (1913). 


which there lay a desire to be seduced, was constantly 
being repeated all through her life. In every relationship, 
e.g. to her nurse and the other people who brought her 
up and also in her analysis, she tried to repeat the situation 
of being seduced or alternately to bring forward the 
charge that she was being seduced. By analysing this 
specific transference-situation it was possible to trace her 
attitude through earlier situations back to the earliest to 
the experience of being cared for when she was an infant. 
Thus in each of the three events that led to the pro- 
duction of Erna's neurosis we can discern the part played 
by constitutional factors. 1 It now remains to be seen in 
what way her experience of the primal scene when she was 
two and a half combined with those constitutional factors 
to bring about the full development of her obsessional 
neurosis. At the age of two and a half, and again at three 
and a half, 2 she had shared her parents' bedroom during a 

1 I have subsequently come to the view, which I shall more fully substantiate 
in Chapter VI II., that an excessive oral sadism brings on the development of 
the ego too rapidly and also hastens that of the libido. The constitutional factors 
in Erna's neurosis which have been referred to above, her over-strong sadism, 
the too rapid development of her ego and the premature activity of her genital 
impulses, are thus interconnected. 

Since dealing with this case I have been able to discover yet another con- 
stitutional factor in the production of a neurosis. This consists in a relative in- 
capacity on the part of the ego to tolerate anxiety. In many instances and 
Erna was one of them the child*s sadism very early on arouses a degree of 
anxiety which the ego cannot adequately master. It must be said in general that 
the capacity of the ego to master even ordinary amounts of anxiety varies with 
the individual; and this fact is of aetiological importance in the neuroses. 

1 We have here an interesting analogy to the case described in Freud's 
'History of an Infantile Neurosis' (1918). When Erna was five years old, that 
is, eighteen months after the last occasion on which she had watched her parents 
copulate, she was with them on a visit to her grandmother, and for a short time 
during the visit shared their bedroom, but without having an opportunity for 
observing coitus. Nevertheless, one morning Erna astonished her grandmother 
by saying: 'Daddy got into bed with Mummy and wiggle-woggled with her*. 
The child's story remained inexplicable until her analysis showed that she had 
taken in what she had seen when she was two and a half, and, though she had 
forgotten it, it had remained stored up in her mind. When she was three and a 
half these impressions had been revived, but once again forgotten. Finally, 
eighteen months later, a similar situation (sleeping in her parents' bedroom) had 
excited in her an unconscious expectation of seeing the same events and had 
stirred up her earlier experiences. In Erna's case, as in that of the Wolf Man, the 
primal scene had been completely repressed but had been subsequently re-activated 
and brought for a moment into consciousness. 


summer holiday. At these times she had had an opportun- 
ity of watching coitus between them. Not only were the 
effects of this observable in her analysis, but they were 
definitely established by external evidence. In the summer 
during which she had made her first observations, a 
markedly unfavourable change had taken place in her. 
Analysis showed that the sight of her parents copulat- 
ing had brought on her neurosis in its full force. It had 
enormously intensified her sense of frustration and envy in 
regard to her parents and had raised to an extreme pitch 
her sadistic phantasies and impulses against the sexual 
gratification they were obtaining. 1 

Erna's obsessional symptoms were explained as follows. 2 
The obsessive character of her thumb-sucking was caused 
by phantasies of sucking, biting and devouring her father's 
penis and her mother's breasts. The penis represented the 
whole father and the breasts the whole mother. 3 As we 
have seen, moreover, the head stood for a penis in her un- 
conscious. Her action of banging her head against the 
pillow was intended to represent her father's movements 
in coitus, She told me that at night she became afraid of 
robbers and burglars directly she stopped 'bumping' with 
her head. She was thus freeing herself from this fear by 
identifying herself with the object of it. 

The structure of her obsessive masturbation was very 

1 In his Hemmungy Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 96, Freud has informed us 
that it is the quantity of anxiety present which determines the outbreak of a 
neurosis. In my opinion, anxiety is liberated by the destructive tendencies (cf. 
Chapters VIII. and XL below), so that the outbreak of a neurosis would, in fact, 
be a consequence of an excessive increase of those destructive tendencies. In Erna's 
case it was her heightened hatred, bringing on anxiety, which led to her illness. 

2 Analysis also uncovered the strong melancholic features which her illness 
presented. In her analysis she used repeatedly to complain of a queer feeling that 
she often had. She would sometimes wonder, she said, whether she was an animal 
or not. This feeling proved to be determined by her sense of guilt over her 
cannibalistic impulses. Her depression, which she used to express in the words, 
*There*s something I don't like about life', was shown by the analysis to be a 
genuine taedium <vitae and to be accompanied by suicidal ideas. It had its roots 
in the feelings of anxiety and guilt resulting from the oral-sadistic introjection 
of her love-objects. 

Cf. Abraham, 'A Short Study of the Development of the Libido" (1924), 
Part II. 


complicated. She distinguished between various forms of it: 
a pressing together of her legs which she called 'ranking* ; 
a rocking movement, already mentioned, called 'sculpting* ; 
and a pulling at the clitoris, called 'the cupboard game', in 
which she 'wan ted to pull out something very long'. Further, 
she used to cause a pressure on her vagina by pulling the 
corner of a sheet between her legs. Various identifications 
were operative in these different forms of masturbation, 
according to whether, in the accompanying phantasies, she 
was playing the active part of her father or the passive 
one of her mother, or both at once. These masturbation 
phantasies of Erna's, which were very strongly sado-maso- 
chistic, showed a clear connection with the primal scene 
and with her primal phantasies. Her sadism was directed 
against her parents in the act of coition, and as a reaction 
to it she had phantasies of a correspondingly masochistic 

During a whole succession of analytic hours Erna mas- 
turbated in these various ways. Owing to the well-estab- 
lished transference, however, it was also possible to induce 
her to describe her masturbation phantasies in between 
times. I was able in this way to discover the causes of her 
obsessive masturbation and thus to free her from it. The 
rocking movements which began in the second half of her 
first year sprang from her wish to be masturbated and went 
back to the manipulations connected with her toilet as an 
infant. There was a period of the analysis during which she 
depicted her parents copulating in the most various ways 
in her games and afterwards gave vent to her full fury over 
the frustration involved. In the course of these scenes she 
would never fail to produce a situation in which she rocked 
herself about in a half-lying or sitting posture, exhibited, 
and eventually even made open requests to me to touch her 
genitals or sometimes to smell them. At that time she once 
astonished her mother by asking her after her bath to lift 
up one of her legs and pat or touch her underneath, at the 
same time taking up the position of a child having its 
genitals powdered a position which she had not been in 


for years. The elucidation of her rocking movements led 
to the complete cessation of the symptom. 

Erna's most resistant symptom was her inhibition in 
learning. It was so extensive that, notwithstanding all the 
trouble she gave herself, she took two years to master what 
children ordinarily learn in a few months. This difficulty 
was more decidedly affected by the later part of her analysis, 
and when I concluded the treatment it had been reduced, 
though not entirely done away with. 

We have already gone into the favourable change which 
took place in Erna's relationship to her parents and in her 
libido position in general as a result of analysis, and have 
seen how it was only thanks to it that she was able to 
take the first steps in the direction of social adaptation. 
Her obsessional symptoms (obsessive masturbation, thumb- 
sucking, rocking, etc.) were removed, although their 
severity had been so great that they had been partly re- 
sponsible for her sleeplessness. With their cure and the 
material lessening of anxiety, her sleep became normal. 
Her attacks of depression also passed away. 1 

Notwithstanding these favourable results I did not con- 
sider that the analysis was by any means complete when it 
was broken off for external reasons after 575 hours of treat- 
ment, having extended over two and a half years. The ex- 
traordinary severity of the case, which was manifested not 
only in the child's symptoms but in her distorted character 
and completely abnormal personality, demanded further 
analysis in order to remove the difficulties from which she 
still suffered. That she was still in an insufficiently stable 
condition was shown by the fact that in situations of great 
strain she had a tendency to relapse into some of her old 
troubles, though such relapses were always less acute than 
the original condition. In these circumstances it was 
always possible that a severe strain, or even the onset of 
puberty, might bring about a fresh illness or some other 

1 When I last had news of her, two and a half years after the end of the 
analysis, these improvements had been maintained. 


This opens up a question of first-rate importance, 
namely, the question of when a child analysis can be said 
to be completed. In children of the latency age I cannot 
consider even very good results, such as fully satisfy the 
people about them, as sufficient evidence that the analysis 
has been carried through to the end. I have come to the 
conclusion that the fact that an analysis has brought about 
a fairly favourable development in the latency period 
however important that may be is not in itself a guar- 
aniee that the patient's further development will be com- 
pletely successful. 1 The transition to puberty, and from it to 
maturity, seems to me to be the test of whether a child 
analysis has been carried far enough or not. I shall go 
further into this question in Chapter VL, and I will only 
state here as an empirical fact that analysis ensures the 
future stability of the child in direct proportion as it is able 
to resolve anxiety in the deepest mental layers. In this, 
and in the character of the child's unconscious phantasies, 
or rather in the changes that have been brought about in 
them, a criterion is to be found which helps us to judge 
whether an analysis has been carried sufficiently far. 

To return to Erna's case. As has already been said, at 
the end of the analysis, her phantasies of persecution were 
greatly reduced both in quantity and intensity. In my 
opinion, however, her sadism and anxiety could and should 
have been further diminished in order to prevent the possi- 
bility of an illness overtaking her at puberty or when she 
became grown-up. But since a continuance of the analysis 
was not at the time possible, its completion was left over 
for a future period. 

I shall now proceed to discuss in connection with Erna's 
case-history certain questions of general importance, some 
of which, indeed, first arose out of her analysis. I found 
that the extensive occupation of her analysis with sexual 

1 In Chapter V., in connection with the analysis of Ilse, a child in the age 
of puberty, I shall consider in greater detail what are the factors that deter- 
mine a successful transition to the latency period and what are the factors that 
determine a further successful transition to puberty. 


questions and the freedom which was allowed her in her 
phantasies and games 1 led to a diminution and not to an 
increase of sexual excitation and preoccupation with sexual 
matters. Erna was a child whose unusual sexual precocity 
had struck everyone around her. Not only the type of 
phantasies she had but her behaviour and movements were 
those of a very sensual girl in her puberty. This was shown 
especially in her provocative behaviour towards men 
and boys. Her behaviour in this respect, too, was very 
much changed for the better during the analysis, and when 
it was ended she showed a more childlike nature in every 
way. Further, the result of analysing her masturbation 
phantasies was to put an end to her obsessive masturbation. 1 
Another analytic principle which I should like to em- 
phasize here is that it is indispensable to make conscious 
as far as possible the doubts and criticism which the child 
harbours in its unconscious concerning its parents and 
especially their sexual life. Its attitude to its environment 
cannot but benefit from this, since, in being brought into 
consciousness, its unconscious grievances and adverse judg- 
ments undergo a test by reality and thus lose their former 
virulence, and its relations to reality improve. Again, its 

1 In the chapter before this I have pointed out that a child analysis, just as 
an adult one, must be carried through in abstinence; but as the child is different 
from the adult, a different criterion must be used. For instance, in taking part 
in the games and phantasies of the child the analyst gives it a much greater 
amount of gratification in reality than he does the adult patientj but this amount 
of gratification is seen to be less than it at first appears to be. For play is a form 
of expression natural to the child, so that the part the analyst takes in it does 
not differ in character from the attention with which he follows the verbal ex- 
pressions of adult patients in describing their phantasies. Furthermore it must 
be remembered that the gratification which children obtain in their analysis 
is for the most part one of the imagination. Erna, it is true, did masturbate 
regularly in her analytic hour over a certain period of time. But she was an 
exception. We must not forget that in her case obsessional masturbation was 
present in such measure that she used to masturbate most of the day, sometimes 
even in the presence of other people. When her compulsion had been considerably 
lessened, the analytical situation led to a cessation of masturbation during the 
analytic hours in favour of a mere representation of the masturbation phantasies 

2 I mean by this that her excessive masturbation and her masturbation done 
in the presence of other people, which had their roots in a compulsion, had 
stopped. I do not mean that she gave up masturbating altogether. 


capacity to criticize its parents consciously is already, as we 
saw in Erna's case, a result of its improved relations to 
reality. 1 

Coming now to a special question of technique, it has 
been said more than once that Erna used often to have 
outbursts of anger during the analytic hour. Her fits of 
anger and her sadistic impulses would not seldom assume 
threatening forms towards me. It is a familiar fact that 
analysis releases strong affects in obsessional neurotics; 
and in children these find a much more direct and un- 
governed outlet than in adults. From the very beginning 
I made Erna clearly understand that she must not attack 
me physically. But she was at liberty to abreact her affects 
in many other ways; and she used to break her toys or cut 
them up, knock down the little chairs, fling the cushions 
about, stamp her feet on the sofa, upset water, smudge 
paper, dirty the toys or the washing basin, break out into 
abuse, and so on, without the slightest hindrance on my 
part. 2 But at the same time I used to analyse her rage, and 
this always lessened it and sometimes cleared it up alto- 
gether. There are thus three ways in which analytic tech- 
nique deals with a child's outbreaks of emotion during 
treatment: (i) The child has to keep part of its affect under 
control, but it should only be required to do so in so far as 
there is a necessity for it in reality; (2) it may give vent to 
its affects in abuse and in the other ways mentioned above; 
and (3) its affects are lessened or cleared up by continuous 
interpretation and by tracing back the present situation to 
the original one. 

1 So long as Erna was so much cut off from reality I was only able to analyse 
material connected with her phantasies; but I was continually on the look-out 
for any threads, however weak, that might connect those phantasies with reality. 
In this way, and by constantly diminishing her anxiety, I was able gradually 
to strengthen her relation to reality. In the next chapter I shall try to show more 
clearly that in the latency period the analyst has very often to occupy himself 
for the most part with such phantasy material for long stretches of time before 
he can gain access to the child's real life and ego-interests. 

* I regard it as an absolute necessity in child analysis that the room in which 
treatment is given shall be furnished in such a way that the child can abreact 
very freely. Damage to the furniture, floor, etc., must up to a certain limit be 
taken into the bargain. 


The extent to which each of these methods is employed 
will, of course, greatly vary. For instance, with Erna I was 
early on driven to devise the following plan. At one period 
she used to have an outbreak of rage whenever I told her 
that the hour was at an end, and I used therefore to open 
both the double-doors of my room so as to check her, 
knowing that it would be extremely painful to her if the 
person who came to fetch her away saw anything of her 
outbursts. At this period, I may remark, my room used to 
look like a battlefield after Erna had left it. Later in the 
analysis she would content herself with hurriedly throwing 
down the cushions before she went out; while later still she 
used to leave the room perfectly calmly. Here is another 
example, taken from the analysis of Peter (aged three and 
three-quarters) who was also at one time subject to violent 
outbursts of rage. At a later period of his analysis he said 
quite spontaneously, pointing to a toy: 'I can just as easily 
think I've broken that'. 1 

I might here point out that the insistence which the 
analyst must inevitably lay upon the child's exerting a 
partial control over its emotions a rule which, of course, 
the child will not by any means always be able to respect 
is in no sense to be regarded as a pedagogic measure; 
such demands are founded upon necessities of the real 
situation such as even the smallest child can understand. 
In the same way there are occasions on which I do not 
actually carry out the whole of the actions which have been 
allotted to me in a game, on the ground that their complete 
realization would be too difficult or unpleasant for me. 
Nevertheless, even in such cases I follow out the child's 

1 The remarks of even quite small children prove that they have fully grasped 
the nature of the transference-situation and understand that the lessening of 
their affects is brought about by interpreting the original situation together with 
the affects belonging to it. In such cases, for instance, Peter used often to dis- 
tinguish between myself, who *was like his Mummy', and his 'real Mummy*. 
For instance, in running his motor up and down he spat at me and -wanted to 
beat me, and called me a 'naughty beast*. He contradicted my interpretation 
violently, but by and by he became quiet and affectionate again and asked: 
'When Daddy's thingummy went into Mummy like that, did I want to say 
"Beast" to my reed Mummy?' 


ideas as far as I possibly can. It is very important, too, that 
the analyst should show the least possible emotion in the 
face of the emotional outbursts of the child. 

I propose now to make use of the data obtained from 
this case to illustrate the theoretical views which I have 
since formed and which will be advanced in the second 
part of this volume. 1 The gilded lamps of the engine, which 
Erna thought were *so lovely, all red and burning* and 
which she sucked, represented her father's penis (cf. also 
the Something long and golden" which held the captain 
up in the water) and her mother's breasts as well. That she 
had an intense feeling of guilt about sucking at things was 
shown by the fact that when I was playing the part of the 
child she declared that my sucking these lamps was my 
greatest fault. This sense of guilt can be explained by the 
fact that sucking also represented biting off and devouring 
her mother's breasts and her father's penis. I may refer 
here to my view that it is the process of weaning which, 
together with the child's wish to incorporate its father's 
penis, and its feelings of envy and hatred towards its mother, 
sets the Oedipus conflict in motion. At the base of this 
envy lies the child's early sexual theory that in copulating 
with the father the mother incorporates and retains his 
penis. 2 

This envy proved to be the central point of Erna's 
neurosis. The attacks which she made at the beginning of 
her analysis as the 'third person' onr the house which was 
occupied only by a man and a woman turned out to be a 
portrayal of her destructive impulses against her mother's 
body and her father's penis imagined to be inside it. These 
impulses, stimulated by the little girl's oral envy, found 
expression in her game in which she sank the ship (her 
mother) and tore away from the captain (her father) the 
'long, golden thing' and his head that kept him afloat, i.e. 

1 Cf. also my paper, 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928). 
1 Cf. Chapter VIII. 


castrated him as he was copulating with her mother. The 
details of her phantasies of assault show to what heights of 
sadistic ingenuity these attacks upon her mother's body 
went. She would, for instance, transform her excrements 
into combustible and explosive substances so as to wreck 
it from within. This was depicted by the burning down 
and destruction of the house and the 'bursting' of the 
people inside it. The cutting-out of paper (making 'hash* 
and 'eye-salad') represented a complete destruction of the 
parents in the act of coition. Erna's wish to bite off my 
nose and to make 'fringes* in it was not only an attack 
directed against myself but symbolized an assault upon 
the incorporated penis of her father, as was proved by the 
material she produced in connection with it. 1 

That Erna made her attacks on her mother's body with 
an eye to seizing and destroying not only her father's 
penis but also the faeces and children there is shown by 
the variety of fish round which there revolved that desper- 
ate struggle, in which every resource was employed, be- 
tween the 'fishwife' (her mother) and me as the child 
(herself). She furthermore imagined, as we saw, that I, 
after looking on while she and the policeman 'wurled' 
money, or fish, together, tried to gain possession of the fish 
at all costs. The sight of her parents in sexual intercourse 
had induced a desire to steal her father's penis and what- 
ever else might be inside her mother's body. It will be 
remembered that Erna's reaction against this intention of 
robbing and completely destroying her mother's body 
was expressed in the fear she had, after her struggles 
with the fishwife, that a robber woman would take out 
everything inside her. It is this fear that I have de- 
scribed in Chapter XL as belonging to the earliest danger- 
situation of the girl-child 2 and as being equivalent to the 
castration anxiety of boys. I may here mention the con- 

1 In other analyses, too, I have found that attacks upon my nose, feet, head, 
etc., never referred simply to those parts of my body as such; they were also 
directed against them as symbolic representations of the father's penis, attached 
to, or incorporated by me, that is, the mother. 

* See also my 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928). 


nection between this early anxiety-situation of Erna's and 
her extraordinary inhibition in learning, a connection 
which I have since met with in other analyses. 1 I have 
already pointed out that in Erna it was only the analysis 
of the deepest layers of her sadism and of her earliest 
Oedipus situation that brought about any change in that 
inhibition. Her strongly developed epistemophilic instinct 
was so closely linked up with her intense sadism that the 
defence against the latter led to a complete inhibition of a 
number of activities which were based upon her desire 
for knowledge. Arithmetic and writing represented violent 
sadistic attacks upon her mother's body and her father's 
penis to her unconscious. 2 They meant tearing, cutting up 
or burning her mother's body, together with the children 
it contained, and castrating her father. Reading, too, in 
consequence of the symbolical equation of her mother's 
body with books, had come to mean a violent removal of 
substances, children, etc., from the inside of her mother, 3 
Finally, I shall make use of this case to bring up yet 
another point to which, as a result of further experience, 
I have come to ascribe general validity. Not only was the 
character of Erna's phantasies and of her relations to 
reality typical for cases in which paranoid traits are strongly 
operative, but the underlying causes of those paranoid 
traits in her and of the homosexuality associated with them 
were, I have found, fundamental factors in the aetiology 
of paranoia in general. In the second part of this book 
(Chapter IX.) this question will receive further discussion. 
I will only point out briefly in this place that I have dis- 
covered strong paranoic features in a number of analyses of 
children, and have thus been led to the conviction that one 
important and promising task of Child Analysis is to uncover 
and clear up psychotic traits in the early life of the individual. 

1 Loc. cit.y where the connection between the subject's inhibition in work and 
his sadistic identification with his mother is discussed. 

2 On this point see also my paper, *The R6le of the School in the Libidinal 
Development of the Child* (1923). 

* In his paper, 'Some Unconscious Factors in Reading' (1930), James 
Strachey has pointed out this unconscious significance of reading. 



CHILDREN in the latency period present special diffi- 
culties of their own in analysis. Unlike the small 
child, whose lively imagination and acute anxiety 
enable us to gain an easier insight into its unconscious and 
make contact there, they have a very limited imaginative 
life, in accordance with the strong tendency to repression 
which is characteristic of their age; while, in comparison 
with the grown-up person, their ego is still undeveloped, 
and they neither understand that they are ill nor want to 
be cured, so that they have no incentive to start analysis 
and no encouragement to go on with it. Added to this is 
the general attitude of reserve and distrust so typical of 
this period of life an attitude which is in part an outcome 
of their intense preoccupation with the struggle against 
masturbation and thus makes them deeply averse to any- 
thing that savours of sexual enquiry or touches on the im- 
pulses they are keeping under with so much difficulty. 

Patients of this age neither play like small children nor 
give verbal associations like adults. Thus the analyst finds 
no clear way of access to them. Nevertheless I have found 
it possible to establish the analytic situation without delay 
by making contact with their unconscious, as I do in the 
case of small children, but from an angle of approach 
which is suited to their older minds. The small child is still 
under the immediate and powerful influence of its in- 
stinctual experiences and phantasies and puts them in front 



of us straight away, so that in the very first hours of analysis 
we can interpret its representations of coitus and its sad- 
istic phantasies; whereas the latency-period child has al- 
ready desexualized those experiences and phantasies much 
more completely and given them quite another form. 

The following two cases will illustrate this point. The 
seven-year-old Crete was a very reserved and mentally re- 
stricted child. She had marked schizoid traits and was 
quite inaccessible. She drew pictures, however, and pro- 
duced primitive representations of houses and trees which 
she drew over and over again in an obsessional way, first 
the one, then the other. From certain continually recur- 
ring changes in the colour and size of the houses and 
trees and from the order in which they were drawn I 
was able to infer that the houses represented herself and 
her mother and the trees her father and brother, and 
that she was interested in their relations to one another. 
At this point I began to interpret and told her that what 
she was concerned with was the sex difference between her 
father and mother and between herself and her brother and 
also the difference between grown-ups and children. She 
agreed with me and showed the immediate impression that 
the interpretation had made on her by making alterations 
in her drawings, which had hitherto been quite monoton- 
ous. (Nevertheless, I may remark that for some months 
analysis was still chiefly carried on with the help of her 
drawings.) In the case of Inge, aged seven, I was unable 
for several hours to find any means of approach. I kept up 
a conversation about her school and kindred subjects with 
some difficulty, and her attitude towards me was very mis- 
trustful and reserved. She showed a little more interest as 
she began telling me about a poem which she had read at 
school. She thought it remarkable that long words should 
have alternated in it with short ones. A little while earlier 
she had spoken about some birds that she had seen fly into 
a garden but not out again. These observations had fol- 
lowed upon a remark she let fall to the effect that she and 
her girl friend had done quite as well at some game as the 


boys. I explained to her that she was occupied by a wish to* 
know where children (the birds) really came from and also to 
understand better the sex difference between boys and girls 
(long and short words the comparative skill of boys and 
girls). My interpretation had the same effect on Inge as it 
had had on Crete. Contact was established, the material 
she brought became richer and the analysis was set going. 

In these and other cases we see repressed curiosity dom- 
inating the picture. If in our latency-period analyses we 
choose this point for making our first interpretations by 
which, of course, I do not mean explanations in the intel- 
lectual sense, but only interpretations of the material as it 
emerges in the form of doubts and fears or unconscious 
knowledge or sexual theories 1 and so on we soon come 
up against feelings of guilt and anxiety in the child and 
have thus established the analytic situation. 

The effect of interpretation, which depends on having 
removed a certain amount of repression, shows itself in 
several ways, (i) The analytical situation is established. 
(2) The child's imagination becomes freer. Its means of 

1 Sexual interest serves in this way as a means of approach to the repressed 
material. As a result of my interpretations Inge and Crete, for example, asked 
for no further sexual enlightenment but brought up material which opened the 
way to their anxiety and sense of guilt. This effect was brought about by the 
removal of a piece of repression. Inge, it is true, was partly conscious of her 
interest in the origin of children, but not of her breedings over sex differences 
nor of her anxiety on the subject. Crete had repressed both. The effect my in- 
terpretations had on both children was due to the fact that I demonstrated their 
interest to them by means of the material they gave me and so established a con- 
nection between their sexual curiosity, latent anxiety and sense of guilt. 

Purely intellectual explanations not only usually fail to answer the questions 
that are uppermost in the child's mind but stir up repressed material without 
setting it free. When this happens the child reacts with aversion to the explana- 
tion. In my paper, 'The Child's Resistance to Analysis' (1921), I put forward 
the view that children can only accept sexual enlightenment in so far as their 
own anxiety and internal conflicts do not prevent them, and that therefore their 
resistance to such enlightenment should be regarded^ as a symptom. Since then 
this view seems to have been generally accepted (cf. *Uber Sexuelle Aufklarung', 
Sonderheft der Zeitschrift fur psychoanalytische Pactagogik, 1927; and Fenichel, 
"Some Infantile Theories not Hitherto Described', 1927). Whenever an in- 
tellectual explanation does give relief it has usually succeeded in resolving some 
piece of repression in the top levels of the mind. Frank explanations in answer 
to spontaneous questions on this subject are received by the child as a proof of 
confidence and love and help to alleviate his sense of guilt by bringing sexual 
questions into open discussion. 


representation grow in richness and extent; its speech be- 
comes more abundant and the stories it tells more full of 
phantasy. (3) The child not only experiences relief but gets 
a certain understanding of the purpose of analytic work, 
and this is analogous to the adult's insight into his illness. 1 
In this way interpretations lead gradually to the overcom- 
ing of the difficulties, mentioned at the beginning of the 
chapter, which stand in the way of the starting and carry- 
ing out of an analysis during the latency period. 

During the latency period, in consonance with the more 
intense repression of its imagination and with its more de- 
veloped ego, the child's games are more adapted to reality 
and less imaginative than those of the small child. In its 
games with water, for instance, we do not find such direct 
representations of oral wishes or of wetting and dirtying as 
in smaller children ; its occupations subserve the reactive 
tendencies in a greater measure and take on rationalized 
forms like cooking, cleaning and so on. This great im- 
portance of the rational element in the play of children at 
this age is due, I think, not only to a more intense repres- 
sion of their imagination, but to an obsessional over-em- 
phasis of reality which is part and parcel of the special 
developmental conditions of the latency period. 

In dealing with typical cases of this period we see again 
and again how the child's ego, which is still much weaker 
than that of the adult, endeavours to strengthen its position 
by placing all its energies in the service of the repressive 
tendencies and by holding fast to reality. Our analytic work 
runs counter to all the child's ego-tendencies, and that is 
why we should not, I think, expect assistance from its ego 
at the beginning, but should try to establish relations with 
its unconscious systems first and from thence gradually 
gain the co-operation of the ego as well. 

In contrast to small children, who are usually more in- 
clined to play with toys at the beginning of their analysis, 
children in the latency period very soon start acting parts. 
With children of five to ten years of age I have played games 

1 As I pointed out in Chapter II., this is equally true of very small children. 



of this sort which have been continued from one hour to 
another over periods of weeks and months, and one game 
has only given place to another when all its details and 
connections have been explained by analysis. The game 
which is then next started commonly displays the same 
complexive phantasies in another form and with new de- 
tails which lead to deeper connections. The seven-year-old 
Inge, 1 for instance, could be described as a normal child 
on the whole, in spite of certain troubles whose full extent 
was only revealed by analysis. For a considerable time she 
played an office game with me, in which she was the man- 
ager who gave orders of every sort and dictated letters and 
wrote them, in contrast to her own severe inhibitions in 
learning and writing. In this her desires to be a man were 
clearly recognizable. One day she gave up this game and 
began to play at school with me. (It is to be noted that she 
not only found her lessons difficult and unpleasant but 
had a great dislike for school itself.) She now played at 
school with me for quite a long time. She was the mistress 
and I the pupil, and the kind of mistakes she made me 
make threw a great deal of light upon the sources of her 
own failure at school. It turned out that, as a youngest 
child, she had, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, 
found the superiority of her elder brothers and sisters very 
hard to put up with, and when she went to school she had 

1 Inge's analysis, which occupied 375 hours in all, was in the nature of a 
prophylactic treatment. Her main trouble was an inhibition in regard to school, 
which did not seem very marked when she first came to me but which, in the 
course of her analysis, was discovered to be very deep-seated. Inge was a lively 
and active child, with a good adaptation to society and in no respect abnormal* 
Nevertheless, her analysis effected some remarkable changes in her. It turned out 
that her liveliness was founded on an active homosexual attitude and her generally 
good relations to boys on an identification with them. Moreover, analysis first 
disclosed the severity of the depressions she was liable to, and it showed that 
behind her apparent self-confidence there was a severe sense of inferiority and a 
fear of failure which were responsible for her difficulties in regard to school life. 
After her analysis she had a much freer, happier and more open nature, her 
relations to her mother were more affectionate and frank and her sublimations 
increased in number and stability. A change in her sexual attitude, as a result of 
which her feminine components and maternal tendencies were able to come to 
the fore to a much greater extent, augured well for her future life. In the seven 
years that have elapsed since the end of her treatment, she has developed very 
satisfactorily and has successfully entered the age of puberty. 


felt that the old situation was being reproduced. The ulti- 
mate reason why she could not endure that superiority 
and why she could not bear being taught at school later on 
was, as the details of the lessons she gave as mistress 
showed, because her own desire for knowledge had been 
unfulfilled and repressed at a very early age. 1 

We have seen how Inge first made an extensive identifi- 
cation with her father (as shown by the game in which she 
was the manager) and then with her mother (as shown by 
the game in which she was the mistress and I the pupil). In 
her next game she was a toy-shop woman and I had to buy 
all sorts of things from her for my children, such as foun- 
tain-pens, pencils, etc., so as to make them clever and 
quick. The things were all penis-symbols and showed what 
it was that she had wanted her mother to give her. The 
wish-fulfilment in this game, in which the little girl's homo- 
sexual attitude and castration complex were once more 
uppermost, was to the effect that her mother should give 
her her father's penis so that with its help she might sup- 
plant her father and win her mother's love. In the further 
course of the game, however, she preferred to sell me as 
her customer things to eat for my children, and it became 
evident that her father's penis and her mother's breast 
were the objects of her deepest oral desires and that it was 
her oral frustrations that were at the bottom of her troubles in 
general and her difficulty in regard to learning in particular. 

Owing to the feelings of guilt bound up with the oral- 
sadistic introjection of her mother's breast, Inge had at a 
very early stage looked upon her oral frustration as a pun- 
ishment. 2 Her impulses of aggression against her mother, 

1 In Chapter IX. the view is put forward in general that the first and most 
fundamental beginnings of the epistemophilic instinct appear at a very early 
stage of development, before the child is able to speak. To the best of my know- 
ledge these early questionings (which in all probability remain entirely or partly 
unconscious) set in at the same time as the earliest sexual theories and the increase 
of sadism, towards the middle of the first year of life. They belong, that is, to 
the period which in my view ushers in the Oedipus conflict. 

* According to Ernest Jones the child always regards deprivations as de- 
liberately imposed on it by the persons about it (cf. his *EarIy Development of 
Female Sexuality', 19275 also Joan Riviere's contribution to *A Symposium on 
Child- Analysis', 192$). 


which arose out of the Oedipus situation, and her wish 
to rob her of her children had strengthened these early 
feelings of guilt and led to a very deep though concealed 
fear of her mother. This was why she was unable to main- 
tain the feminine position and tried to identify herself with 
her father. But she was also unable to accept the homo- 
sexual position, on account of an excessive fear of her 
father, whose penis she wanted to steal. To this was added 
her feeling of inability to do in consequence of her inability 
to know (i.e. the early frustration of her epistemophilic in- 
stinct) to which her position as youngest child had con- 
tributed. She therefore failed at school in the activities that 
answered to her masculine components; nor, since she 
could not maintain the feminine position, which involved 
the conception and bearing of children in phantasy, was 
she able to develop feminine sublimations derived from 
that position. Owing to her anxiety and feelings of guilt, 
moreover, she also failed in the relation of child to mother 
(e.g. in her relation to the school-mistress), since she un- 
consciously equated the absorption of knowledge with the 
gratification of oral-sadistic desires, and this involved the 
destruction of her mother's breast and her father's penis. 

While Inge was a failure in reality, in imagination she 
played every role. Thus in the game I have described, in 
which she played the part of office-manager, she re- 
presented her successes in the role of father ; as the school- 
mistress she had numerous children, and at the same time 
exchanged her role of the youngest child for that of the 
oldest and cleverest; while in the game of being a seller of 
toys and food she was not only in the superior position but 
made up for the oral frustrations she had suffered as a 

I have brought this case forward to show how, in order 
to discover the underlying psychological connections, we 
have to investigate not only all the details of a given game 
but the reason why one game is changed for another. I 
have often found that such a change of game allows us 
an insight into the causes of changes from one psycho- 


logical position to another or of fluctuations between 
such positions, and hence into the dynamics of the inter- 
play of mental forces. 

The next case gives an opportunity of demonstrating 
the application of a mixed technique. Kenneth, aged nine 
and a half, a very infantile boy for his age, was sent to me 
for analysis on account of various difficulties. He was fear- 
ful, shy and seriously inhibited, and he suffered from severe 
anxiety. From an early age he had suffered to a marked 
degree from morbid brooding. He was a complete failure at 
his lessons, his knowledge of school subjects being that of 
a child of about seven. At home he was of an exceedingly 
aggressive, insolent and intractable disposition. His un- 
sublimated and apparently uninhibited interest in all 
sexual matters was quite out of the ordinary; he used 
obscene words by preference and exhibited himself and 
masturbated in an unusually shameless manner for a child 
of his age. 1 

The boy's previous history had been briefly as follows. 
At a very early age he had been seduced by his nurse. His 
memory of it was quite conscious, and the circumstance 
had later become known to his mother. According to her, 
the nurse, Mary, had been very devoted to the child but 
had been very strict in her insistence upon his cleanliness. 
Kenneth's memories of being seduced went back to the be- 
ginning of his fifth year, but it is certain that it actually 
took place very much earlier. He reported, apparently with 
pleasure and without inhibition, that his nurse used to take 
him with her when she went to have her bath and used to 
ask him to rub her genitals. Besides this, he had nothing 
but good to tell of her; he asserted that she had loved him 
and for a longtime denied that she had treated him severely. 
At the beginning of his analysis he reported a dream which 

1 Kenneth's treatment occupied 225 hours and could not be carried any 
further owing to external circumstances. His neurosis, though not actually re- 
moved, had by then been materially reduced. As far as his practical life was 
concerned, the partial results obtained led to the diminution of a number of 
difficulties: among other things he was able to comply better with the require- 
ments of his school life and of his upbringing in general. 


he had dreamt repeatedly since his fifth year: he was touch- 
ing an unknown woman's genitals and masturbating her. 

His fear of me cropped up in the first hour. He had 
an anxiety-dream shortly after the beginning of his analysis 
in which all of a sudden a man was sitting in my chair instead 
of me. I then undressed^ and he was horrified to see that I had 
an unusually large male genital organ. In connection with 
the interpretation of this dream a quantity of material 
came up in regard to his sexual theory of 'the mother with 
a penis', a mental image which, as analysis proved, was 
very definitely embodied for him in Mary. He had 
evidently been very much afraid of her when he was a 
small child, for she had beaten him very severely, but he 
was still unable to admit this fact until a later dream made 
him alter his attitude. 

Infantile as Kenneth was in many respects, he very soon 
acquired a clear understanding of the aim and the necessity 
of his analysis. He used sometimes to give associations in 
the manner of older children and chose of his own accord 
to lie on the sofa while he did so. The greater part of his 
analysis, indeed, was carried on in this way. Soon, how- 
ever, he began to supplement his verbal material with 
action. He picked up some pencils from the table and 
made them represent people. Another time he brought 
some paper-clips with him and these in turn became 
people and fought with one another. He also made them 
represent projectiles and constructed buildings out of 
them. All this took place on the sofa on which he lay. 
Finally he discovered a box of bricks on the window-sill, 
brought the little play-table up to the sofa and accom- 
panied his associations with representations by means of 
the bricks. 

Of Kenneth's second dream, which carried the analysis 
a long step further, I will now relate as much as is neces- 
sary for illustrating the technique employed. He was in the 
bathroom and was urinating^ a man came in and fired off a bullet 
which hit his ear and knocked it off. While he was telling me 
this dream Kenneth carried out various operations with 


the bricks which he explained to me in the following way, 
He himself, his father, his brother and the nurse Mary 
were each represented by a brick. All these people were 
lying asleep in different rooms (the walls of which were 
also indicated by bricks). Mary got up, took a big stick 
(another brick) and came towards him. She was going to 
do something to him because he had been misbehaving 
himself in some way. (It turned out that he had mastur- 
bated and wetted himself.) While she was beating him 
with the stick he began to masturbate her and she at once 
stopped beating him. When she began to beat him again 
he again masturbated her and she stopped; and this pro- 
cess was repeated again and again till at last, in spite of 
everything, she threatened to kill him with the stick. His 
brother then came to his rescue. 

Kenneth was exceedingly surprised when he recognized 
at last from this game and its associations that he really 
had been afraid of Mary. At the same time, however, part 
of his fear of both parents had also become conscious. 
His associations showed clearly that behind his fear of 
Mary lurked the fear of a wicked mother in league with a 
castrating father. The latter was represented in his dream 
by the man who shot his ear off in the bathroom the very 
place in which he had often masturbated his nurse. 

Kenneth's fear of his two parents united against him 
and perpetually copulating with each other proved to be 
extremely important in his analysis. It was only after I 
had made many subsequent observations of the same kind 
in other cases 1 that I realized the fact that fear of 'the 
woman with a penis' is founded upon a sexual theory, 
formed at a very early stage of development, to the effect 
that the mother incorporates the father's penis in the act 
of coitus, 2 so that in the last resort the woman with a penis 

1 For a further discussion of this view see my paper, *Early Stages of the 
Oedipus Conflict* (1928), also Chapter VIIL 

1 In his ' Homosexualita t und Odipuskomplex* (1926) Felix Boehm has 
pointed out that the idea of the concealed female penis receives its pathogenic 
value by having been brought into connection, in the unconscious, with the idea 
of the father's dreaded penis hidden inside the mother. 


signifies the two parents joined together. I will illustrate 
this from the material under discussion here. In his dream 
Kenneth was first attacked by a man, but afterwards, in 
his play, it was Mary, armed with a stick, who attacked 
him. She represented, as his associations showed, not only 
the Voman with a penis', but his mother united with his 
father. In this figure his father, who had before appeared 
as a man, was represented by his penis alone, i.e. by the 
stick with which Mary struck him. 

I may here point out a similarity between the technique 
of early analysis and the play technique which is em- 
ployed in certain cases with older children. Kenneth had 
become conscious of an important part of his early history 
by means of playing with bricks. As his analysis pro- 
ceeded he used often to get a return of anxiety and could 
then only communicate his associations to me if he supple- 
mented them by representations with the bricks. (Indeed, 
it not seldom happened that, when this anxiety came on, 
words quite failed him and all he could do was to play.) 
After his anxiety had been lessened by interpretations he 
was able to speak more freely again. 

Another example of modification in technique is pro- 
vided by the method I adopted with Werner, a nine-year* 
old obsessional neurotic. This boy, who behaved in many 
respects like an adult obsessional and in whom morbid 
brooding was a marked symptom, also suffered from 
severe anxiety which was, however, chiefly exhibited in 
great irritability and in fits of rage. 1 A great part of this 

1 Werner's case presented the following symptoms: anxiety and timidity, 
which showed themselves in various forms but especially in anxiety at school 
and in great and increasing difficulties in his lessons; obsessional ceremonials that 
were constantly becoming more elaborate and took up hours at a time; and a 
severely neurotic character which made his upbringing extremely difficult. His 
analysis, which comprised 210 hours of treatment, removed these difficulties to 
a great extent. The boy's general development at the present time (five years 
after the end of the treatment) is very favourable. The obsessional ceremonials 
have ceased, he is good at his work, enjoys going to school, gets on with his 
associates both at home and at school and is well adjusted socially. His relation! 
both with his immediate and his remoter environment arc good. Above all, 
however and this was not the case before he takes pleasure in the most varied 
sorts of activities and sport and feels well. 


analysis was carried on by means of toys and with the help 
of drawing. I was obliged to sit beside him at the play- 
table and to play with him to a greater extent than I usually 
have to with even quite small children. Sometimes I had 
even to carry out the actions involved in the game by my- 
self under his direction. For instance, I had to build up 
the bricks, move the carts about and so on, while he 
merely supervised my actions. The reason he gave for this 
was that his hands sometimes trembled very much, so that 
he could not put the toys in their places or might upset 
them or spoil their arrangement. This trembling was a sign 
of the onset of an anxiety-attack. I could in most cases cut 
the attack short by carrying out the game as he wanted 
it, at the same time interpreting, in connection with his 
anxiety, the meaning of my actions. It appeared that his 
fear of his own aggressiveness and his disbelief in his 
capacity to love had made him lose all hope of restoring 
the parents and brothers and sisters whom, in his imagina- 
tion, he had attacked and injured. Hence his fear that 
he might accidentally knock down the bricks and things 
which had already been put up. This distrust of his own 
constructive tendencies and of his ability to make good 
what he had destroyed was one of the causes of his severe 
inhibition in work and play. 

After his anxiety had been resolved to a large extent, 
Werner played his games without assistance from me. He 
did a great many drawings and gave abundant associations 
to them. In the last part of his analysis he produced his 
material chiefly in the form of free associations. Lying on 
the sofa a position in which he, like Kenneth, preferred 
to give his associations he would narrate continuous 
phantasies of adventure in which apparatus, mechanical 
contrivances and so on played a large part. In these stories 
the material that had before been represented in his draw- 
ings appeared again, but enriched in many particulars. 

Werner's intense and acute anxiety was mainly ex- 
pressed, as I have said, in the form of fits of rage and 
aggressiveness and in an overbearing, defiant and fault- 


finding attitude. He had no insight into the fact that he was 
ill and used to insist that there was no reason why he should 
be analysed; and for a long period, whenever his resist- 
ances came up, he used to behave to me in an insolent and 
angry way. At home, too, he was a difficult child to man- 
age, and his people would hardly have been able to induce 
him to go on with his treatment if I had not very soon 
succeeded by analysis in resolving his anxiety bit by bit 
until his expression, of his resistance to analysis was almost 
entirely confined to the analytic hour. 

We now come to a case which presented technical diffi- 
culties of a quite unusual kind. The nine-and-a-half-year- 
old Egon displayed no very definite symptoms, but his con- 
dition as a whole made a disquieting impression. He was 
completely 'shut-in* even with regard to those nearest to 
him, spoke only when it was absolutely necessary, had al- 
most no ties of feeling, no friends and nothing that inter- 
ested or pleased him. He was, it is true, a good scholar, but, 
as the analysis showed, only on an obsessional basis. When 
asked whether he would like anything or not, his stereo- 
typed answer would always be 'I don't mind*. The unchild- 
like, strained expression of his face and the stiffness of his 
movements were most striking. His withdrawal from reality 
went so far that he did not see what was going on around 
him and failed to recognize familiar friends when he met 
them. Analysis revealed the presence of strong and steadily 
increasing psychotic features which would in all probability- 
have led to the onset of schizophrenia at the age of puberty. 

Here is a short summary of the boy's previous history. 
When he was about four years old he had been repeatedly 
threatened by his father for masturbating and told that 
he must at any rate always confess when he did it. These 
threats had been followed by marked changes in his char- 
acter. He began to tell lies and to have frequent outbursts 
of rage. Later his aggressiveness receded into the back- 
ground and instead his whole attitude became more and 
more one of unemotional and passive defiance and of 
withdrawal from the external world. 


I began by getting Egon to lie on the sofa (which he 
did not mind doing and apparently preferred to playing 
games) and for several weeks tried in various ordinary 
ways to set the treatment going, till I was forced to recog- 
nize that my attempts along these lines were doomed to 
failure. It became clear to me that the child's difficulty 
in speaking was so deeply rooted that my first task must 
be to overcome it analytically. Noticing that the scanty 
material I had so far been able to get from him had mostly 
been inferred from the way in which he played with his 
fingers while he let fall an occasional word not amounting 
to more than a few sentences in an hour I understood 
that he was under the necessity of helping himself out by 
action and I accordingly asked him once more whether, 
after all, he was not interested in my little toys. He gave 
his usual reply, I don't mind'. Nevertheless, he looked at 
the things on the play-table and proceeded to occupy him- 
self with the little carts, and with them alone. There now 
developed a monotonous game which occupied his whole 
hour for weeks on end. Egon made the carts run along the 
table and then threw them on to the ground in my direc- 
tion ; I gathered by a look from him that I was to pick them 
up and push them back to him. In order to get away from 
the role of the prying father, against whom his defiance 
was directed, I played with him for weeks in silence and 
made no interpretations, simply trying to establish rapport 
by playing with him. During all this time the details of 
the game remained absolutely the same, but, monotonous 
as it was (and incidentally extremely exhausting for me), 
there were many small points to be noted in it. It appeared 
that in his case, as in all analyses of boys, making a cart 
move along meant masturbation and coitus, making carts hit 
together meant coitus, and comparison of a larger cart with 
a smaller meant rivalry with his father or his father's penis. 

When, after some weeks, I explained this material to 
Egon in connection with what was already known 1 it 

1 Further analysis showed that it had been quite pointless to withhold in- 
terpretation of the material for so long. I have never yet in any analysis seen any 


had a far-reaching effect in two directions. At home his 
parents were struck by the very much greater freedom of 
his behaviour; and in analysis he showed what I have 
found to be the typical reaction to the resolving effect of 
interpretation. He began to add new details to his mono- 
tonous game details which, though at first only discern- 
ible to close observation, grew more and more marked 
as time went on and finally brought about a complete 
alteration of the game. From merely pushing carts along, 
Egon went on to a building game, as with increasing skill 
he began to pile the carts one upon another to a very great 
height and to compete with me over it. He now proceeded 
for the first time to use the bricks, and it soon became evi- 
dent that the things he built up were, however skilfully 
the fact was concealed, always human beings or genitals 
of both sexes. From building Egon went on to a quite 
remarkable form of drawing. Without looking at the paper 
he would roll a pencil about between his two hands and 
in this way produce lines. Out of these scrawls he then 
himself deciphered shapes, and these always represented 
heads, among which he himself clearly distinguished the 
male from the female. In the details of these heads and 
their relations to one another the material that had 
occurred in the earlier games soon reappeared namely, 
his uncertainty about the difference between the sexes and 
about coitus between his parents, the questions that were 
connected in his mind with these subjects, the phantasies 
in which he as a third party played a part in the sexual 
intercourse of his parents, etc. But his hatred and his 
destructive impulses, too, became obvious in the cutting 
out and cutting to bits of these heads which also repre- 
sented the children in his mother's body and his parents 
themselves. It was only now that we arrived at the full 
meaning of his having piled up the carts as high as he 

advantage follow from such a policy of non-interpretation. In most cases in 
which I have tried the plan I have very soon had to abandon it because acute 
anxiety has developed and there has been a risk of the analysis being broken off. 
In Egon's case, where the anxiety was under such powerful restraint, it was 
possible to continue the experiment longer. 


could. It represented his mother's pregnant body for which 
he had envied her and whose contents he wished to steal 
from her. He had strong feelings of rivalry with his 
mother and his wish to rob her of his father's penis and 
of her children had led to an acute fear of her. These 
representations were afterwards supplemented by the cut- 
ting out he did, in which he gradually acquired consider- 
able skill. Just as in his building activities, the shapes 
which he cut out represented only human beings. The 
way in which he brought these shapes into contact with 
one another, their different sizes, whether they repre- 
sented men or women, whether they had some parts miss- 
ing or too many, when and how he began to cut them to 
pieces all these matters took us deep into both his in- 
verted and his direct Oedipus complex. His rivalry with 
his mother, based on his strong passive homosexual atti- 
tude, and the anxiety he felt concerning it, both in regard 
to his father and his mother, became more and more evi- 
dent. His hatred of his brother and sisters and the de- 
structive impulses he had had towards them when his 
mother was pregnant found expression in the cutting out 
of forms which he recognized as representing small and 
incomplete human beings. Here, too, the order in which 
he played his games was important. After cutting out and 
cutting to pieces he would start building as an act of 
restoration; and similarly, the figures he had cut up he 
proceeded to over-decorate, urged by reactive tendencies, 
and so on. In all these representations, however, there 
always reappeared the repressed questions and the re- 
pressed early intense curiosity which proved to be an im- 
portant factor in his inability to speak, his 'shut-in' char- 
acter and his lack of interests. 

Egon's inhibition in play dated back to the age of four 
and in part to an even earlier time. He had made buildings 
before he was three and had begun cutting out paper 
rather later, but had only kept it up for quite a short time 
and even at that time had only cut out heads. He had 
never drawn at all, and after the age of four he had taken 


no pleasure in any of these earlier pursuits. What appeared 
now, therefore, were sublimations rescued from profound 
repression, partly in the form of revivals and partly as new 
creations; and the childlike and quite primitive manner 
in which he set about each of these pursuits belonged 
really to the level of a three- or four-year-old child. It may 
be added that simultaneously with these changes the boy's 
whole character took a turn for the better. 

Nevertheless, his inhibition in speech was for a long time 
only slightly relieved. It is true that he gradually began to 
answer the questions which I put to him during his games 
in a freer and fuller way, but on the other hand I was for 
a long time unable to get him to give free associations of 
the kind that are usual in older children. It was not until 
much later and during the last part of the treatment, 
which occupied 425 hours in all, that we fully recognized 
and explored the paranoid factors underlying his inhibition 
in speech, which was then completely removed. 1 As his 
anxiety substantially diminished he began of his own accord 
to give me single associations in writing. Later on he used 
to whisper them to me and make me answer him in a low 
voice. It became ever clearer that he was afraid of being 
overheard by someone in the room, and there were some 
parts of the room which he would not go near on any 
account. If, for instance, his ball had rolled under the sofa 
or the cupboard or into a dark corner, I used to have to 
fetch it back for him; while, as his anxiety increased, he 
would once more assume the same rigid posture and fixed 
expression which had been so marked in him at the be- 
ginning of his analysis. It came out that he suspected the 
presence of hidden persecutors watching him from all these 
places and even from the ceiling, and that his ideas of per- 
secution went back, in the last resort, to his fear of the 
many penises inside his mother's body and his own. This 
paranoic fear of the penis as a persecutor had been very 
greatly increased by his father's attitude in watching him 
and cross-questioning him in regard to masturbation and 

1 I intend to go more fully into this case in Chapter IX. 


had made him turn away from his mother as well, as being 
in league with his father (the 'woman with a penis'). As his 
belief in a 'good' mother became stronger in the course of 
analysis, he came to treat me more and more as an ally and 
as a protector from persecutors who were threatening him 
from every quarter. It was not until his anxiety in this 
respect and his estimation of the number and dangerous- 
ness of his persecutors had lessened that he was able to 
speak and move more freely. 1 

The last part of Egon's treatment was conducted almost 
exclusively on the lines of free associations. There is no 
doubt in my mind that I only succeeded in treating and 
curing this boy by being able to gain access to his uncon- 
scious with the assistance of the play technique used for 
small children. Whether it would have been still possible 
to do this at a later age seems to me doubtful. 2 

Though it is true that in general we make great use of 
verbal associations in dealing with children in the latency 
period, yet in many cases we can only do so in a manner 
that differs from that employed with adults. With children 
like Kenneth, for example, who soon consciously recog- 
nized the help given him by psycho-analysis and realized 
his need for it, or even with the much younger Erna, whose 
wish to be cured was very strong, it was possible from the 
very beginning occasionally to ask; 'Well? What are you 
thinking of now?' But with many children of under nine 
or ten it would be useless to put such a question. The way 
in which a child is to be questioned must be discovered in 
connection with its games or its associations. 

1 Melitta Schmideberg has discussed a similar case in her paper, 4 A Contribu- 
tion to the Psychology of Persecutory Ideas and Delusions 1 (1931). The patient 
was a boy of about sixteen who scarcely spoke at all in his analysis. Here again 
the inhibition in speech was caused by ideas of persecution, and the boy did not 
begin to associate at all freely until analysis had lessened his paranoic anxiety. 

* In general, too, the result of Egon's analysis was completely satisfactory. 
The setness of his face and movements passed off. He began to take pleasure in 
the games, pastimes and interests common to boys of his age. His relations with 
his family and the world became good and he grew happy and contented. When 
last I heard from him, three and a half years after his analysis was finished, this 
healthy development had continued and had not been disturbed by certain severe 
strains to which he had been subjected in the meanwhile. 


If we watch the play of a quite small child we shall soon 
observe that the bricks, the pieces of paper and, indeed, all 
the things around it stand in its imagination for some- 
thing else. If we ask it 'What is that?' while it is occupied 
with these articles (it is true that as a rule before we do this 
a certain amount of analysis must have been done and a 
transference established) we shall find out quite a lot. We 
shall often be told, for instance, that the stones in the water 
are children who want to come on shore or that they are 
people fighting one another. The question 'What is that?' 
will lead on naturally to the further question 'Well, what 
are they doing?* or 'Where are they now?' and so on. We 
have to elicit the associations of older children in a similar, 
though modified, fashion ; but this, as a rule, can only be 
effected when the repression of imagination and the mis- 
trust, which are so much stronger in them, have been 
diminished by a certain amount of analysis and the analytic 
situation has been established. 

To go back to the analysis of the seven-year-old Inge. 
When she was playing the part of office-manager, writing 
letters, distributing work and so on, I once asked her: 
'What is there in this letter?' and she promptly replied : 
'You'll find that out when you get it*. When I received it, 
however, I found that it contained nothing but scribbles. 1 

So shortly afterwards I said: 'Mr. X ' (who also 

figured in the game) 'has told me to ask you what there is 
in the letter, as he must know, and would be glad if you 
would read it all out to him over the telephone'. Where- 
upon she told me, without making any difficulty, the whole 
imaginary contents of the letter and at the same time gave 
a number of illuminating associations. Another time, I 
had to pretend to be a doctor. When I asked her what was 

1 Inge, who, as I have already mentioned, suffered from a severe inhibition in 
writing, had a burning wish to write 'quickly and beautifully* like grown-ups. 
The compromise between this wish and her inhibition was scribbling, which 
represented in her phantasy beautiful and skilful handwriting. Her wish if 
possible to excel the grown-ups in writing and her very strong ambition 
and curiosity, existing as they did side by side with a deep feeling that she 
knew nothing and could do nothing, played a great part in her failure in real 


supposed to be the matter with her, she answered: 'Oh, 
that makes no difference*. I then began to have a proper 
consultation with her like a doctor, and said : 'Now, Mrs. 

j you really must tell me exactly where you feel the 

pain'. From this there arose further questions why she 
had fallen ill, when the illness had begun, etc. Presented 
with them in this form, she willingly answered my ques- 
tions, and since she played the part of patient several times 
in succession I obtained abundant and deeply buried 
material in this way. And when the situation was reversed 
and she was the doctor and I the patient, the medical 
advice she gave me supplied me with further informa- 

From what has been said in this chapter, then, we see 
that in dealing with children of the latency period it is 
essential above all to establish contact with their uncon- 
scious phantasies, and that this is done by interpreting 
the symbolic content of their material in relation to their 
anxiety and feelings of guilt. But since the repression of 
imagination in this stage of development is much more 
severe than in earlier stages, we often have to find access 
to the unconscious through representations which are to all 
appearances entirely devoid of phantasy. We must also, in 
typical analyses of the latency period, be prepared to find 
that it is only possible to resolve the child's repressions and 
set free its imagination step by step and with much labour. 
In some cases for weeks or even months at a time no- 
thing that is produced seems to contain any psychological 
material whatever. All we get, for instance, are reports out 
of newspapers or accounts of the contents of books or mono- 
tonous stories about school. Moreover, such activities as 
monotonous obsessive drawing, building, sewing or making 
things especially when we obtain few associations to them 
seem to offer no means of approach to the life of the 
imagination. But we need only recall the examples of Greta 
and Egon to remind ourselves that even activities and talk 
so completely without phantasy as these do open the way 
to the unconscious if we do not merely regard them as 



expressions of resistance but treat them as true material. 
By paying enough attention to small indications and by 
taking as our starting-point for interpretation the connec- 
tion between the symbolism, sense of guilt and anxiety that 
accompany those representations, we shall always find 
opportunities for beginning and carrying on the work of 

But the fact that in child analysis we get into com- 
munication with the unconscious before we have estab- 
lished any very extensive relation with the ego does not 
mean that we have excluded the ego from participating in 
the analytic work. Any exclusion of this kind would be 
impossible, considering that the ego is so closely connected 
with the id and the super-ego and that we can only find 
access to the unconscious through it. Nevertheless, analysis 
does not apply itself to the ego as such (as educational 
methods do) but only seeks to open up a path to the un- 
conscious systems of the mind those systems which are 
decisive for the formation of the ego. 

To return to our examples once more. As we have seen, 
the analysis of Greta (aged seven) was almost entirely 
carried on by means of her drawings. She used, it will be 
remembered, to draw houses and trees of various sizes 
alternately in an obsessive way. Now, starting from these 
unimaginative and obsessional pictures, I might have tried 
to stimulate her phantasy and link it up with other activi- 
ties of her ego in the way in which a sympathetic teacher 
might do. I could have got her to want to decorate and 
beautify her houses or to put them and the trees together 
and to make a street out of them and thus have connected 
her activities with whatever aesthetic or topographical in- 
terests she might chance to possess. Or I could have gone 
on from her trees to make her interested in the difference 
between one kind of tree and another and perhaps in this 
way have stimulated her curiosity about nature in general. 
Had any attempt of this kind succeeded, we should ex- 
pect her ego-interests to come more to the fore and the 
analyst to get into closer contact with her ego. But experi- 


ence has shown that in many cases such a stimulation of the 
child's imagination fails in its attempts to effect a loosening 
of the repression and thus to find a foothold for the 
beginning of analytic work. 1 Moreover, such a procedure 
is very often not feasible, because the child suffers from so 
much latent anxiety that we are obliged to establish the 
analytic situation as quickly as possible and begin actual 
analytical work at once. And even where there is a chance 
of gaining access to the unconscious by making the ego 
our starting-point, we shall find that the results are small 
in comparison with the length of time taken to obtain them. 
For the increase in the wealth and significance of the 
material thus gained is only a seeming one; in reality we 
shall not be doing more than meeting the same unconscious 
material clothed in more striking forms. In Greta's case, 
for instance, we might have been able to stimulate her 
curiosity and thus, in favourable circumstances, have led 
her to become interested, say, in the entrances and exits of 
houses and in the differences between trees and the way 
they grew. But these expanded interests would only be a 
less disguised version of the material she had been showing 
us in the monotonous drawings quite at the beginning 
of her analysis. The big and small trees and the big 
and small houses which she kept on drawing in a compul- 
sive manner represented her mother and father and herself 
and her brother, as was indicated by the difference in the 
sizes, shapes and colours of her drawings and by the order 
in which they were done. What underlay them was her re- 
pressed curiosity about the difference between the sexes 
and other allied problems; and by interpreting them in 
that sense I was able to get at her anxiety and sense of 
guilt and to set the analysis going. 

Now if the material which underlies noticeable and com- 
plicated representations is no different from that which 
underlies meagre ones, it is irrelevant from the point of 
view of analysis which of the two kinds of representation 
is chosen as the point of departure for interpretation. For 

1 Cf. the analysis of Egon and Greta. 


in child analysis it is interpretation alone, in my experi- 
ence, which starts the analytic process and keeps it going. 
Therefore, so long as the analyst has been able to under- 
stand what kind of material is being put forward and to 
establish its connection with the latent anxiety, he is in a 
position to give a correct interpretation of the most mono- 
tonous and unpromising representations of it, while step 
by step as he resolves anxiety and removes repressions the 
child's ego-interests and sublimations will begin to make 
headway. In this way, for instance, Use whose case will 
be considered in greater detail in the following chapter 
gradually evolved out of her unvarying and obsessive 
drawing a decided gift for handicraft and design, without 
my having urged upon her or in any way suggested such 
an activity. 

Before leaving the subject of analyses of the latency 
period, however, there still remains one problem to dis- 
cuss* It is not, strictly speaking, of a technical nature but 
it is of importance in the work of the child analyst. I refer 
to the analyst's dealings with the parents of his patients. 
In order for him to be able to do his work there must be 
a certain relation of confidence between himself and the 
child's parents. The child is dependent on them and so 
they are included in the field of the analysis ; yet it is not 
they who are being analysed and they can therefore only 
be influenced by ordinary psychological means. The rela- 
tionship of the parents to their child's analyst entails diffi- 
culties of a peculiar kind, since it touches closely upon their 
own complexes. Their child's neurosis weighs very heavily 
upon the parents' sense of guilt, and at the same time as 
they turn to analysis for help they regard the necessity of 
it as a proof of their responsibility for their child's illness. 
It is, moreover, very trying for them to have the details of 
their family life revealed to the analyst. To this must be 
added, particularly in the case of the mother, jealousy of 
the confidential relation which is established between the 
child and its analyst. This jealousy, which is to a very large 
extent based upon the subject's rivalry with her own 


mother-imago, 1 is also very noticeable in governesses and 
nurses, who are often anything but friendly in their attitude 
towards analysis. These, and other factors, which remain 
for the most part unconscious, give rise to a more or less 
ambivalent attitude in the parents, especially the mother, 
towards the analyst, and this is not removed by the fact of 
their having conscious insight into their child's need for 
analytic treatment. Hence, even if the child's relatives are 
consciously well disposed to its analysis, we must expect 
that they will to some extent be a disturbing element in it. 
The degree of difficulty they will cause will of course de- 
pend on their unconscious attitude and on the amount of 
ambivalence they have. This is why I have met with no less 
hindrance where the parents were familiar with analysis 
than where they knew practically nothing about it. For the 
same reason, too, I consider any far-reaching theoretical 
explanations to the parents before the beginning of an ana- 
lysis as not only unnecessary but out of place, since such 
explanations are liable to have an unfavourable effect upon 
their own complexes. I content myself with making a few 
general statements about the meaning and effect of analysis, 
mention the fact that, in the course of it, the child will be 
given information upon sexual subjects and prepare the 
parents for the possibility of other difficulties arising from 
time to time during the treatment. In every case I refuse 
absolutely to report any details of the analysis to them. 
The child who gives me its confidence has no less claim to 
my discretion than the adult. 

What we should aim at in establishing relations with 
the parents is, in my judgment, in the first place to get 
them to assist in our work principally in a passive way, by 
refraining as much as possible from all interference, such 
as encouraging the child, through questions, to talk about 

1 In certain cases in which I have analysed a mother and child simultaneously 
it has emerged that in the mother's unconscious there was a fear of being robbed 
of her children. The child's analyst represented to her a stern mother who was 
demanding the restitution of the chiktren she had stolen away and was at the 
same time discovering and punishing the aggressive impulses she had once enter- 
tained against her brothers and sisters. 


its analysis at home or lending any kind of support to 
whatever resistances it may give utterance to. But we do 
need their more active co-operation on those occasions 
when the child is overtaken by really acute anxiety and 
violent resistances. In such situations I may here recall 
the cases of Ruth and Trude 1 it devolves upon those in 
charge of the child to find ways and means of getting it 
to come in spite of its difficulties. As far as my experience 
goes, this has always been possible; for in general, even 
when resistance is strong there is a positive transference 
to the analyst as well, so that the child's attitude to its 
analysis is ambivalent. The help given us by the child's 
parents must, however, never be allowed to become a per- 
manent adjunct to analytic work. Periods of such intense 
resistance should only occur rarely and not last long. The 
work of analysis must either prevent it, or, if that cannot 
be done, rapidly resolve it. 

If we can succeed in establishing a good relation with 
the child's parents and in being sure of their unconscious 
co-operation, we are in a position to obtain useful know- 
ledge about the child's behaviour outside analysis, such as 
any changes, appearances or disappearances of its symp- 
toms that may occur in connection with the analytic work. 
But if information on these points is only to be got from 
parents at the price of raising difficulties of another kind, 
then I prefer to do without it, since, although valuable, 
it is not absolutely indispensable. I always impress upon 
the parents the necessity of not giving the child occasion 
to believe that any steps they may take in its upbringing 
are due to my advice and of keeping education and analy- 
sis completely separated. In this way the analysis remains, 
as it should, a purely personal matter between myself and 
my patient. 

With children no less than with adults I regard it as 
essential that analysis should be carried on in the analyst's 
place of work and that a definite hour should be kept to. 
As a further means of avoiding displacement of the ana- 

1 See Chapter II. 


lytic situation, I have found it necessary not to let the 
person who brings the child to analysis wait in my house. 
She brings the child and takes it away again at the 
appointed time. 

Unless the mistakes that are being made are too gross, 
I avoid interfering with the way in which the child is being 
brought up, for errors in this field usually depend so 
largely upon the parents' own complexes that advice gener- 
ally proves not only useless but calculated to increase their 
anxiety and sense of guilt; and this will only put further 
obstacles in the path of the analysis and have an unfavour- 
able effect on the parents' attitude towards their child, 1 

The whole situation improves greatly after an analysis is 
finished or when it is far advanced. The removal or lessening 
of a child's neurosis has a good effect upon its parents. As 
the mother's difficulties in dealing with her child diminish, 
her sense of guilt diminishes too, and this improves her 
attitude towards the child. She becomes more accessible 
to the analyst's advice in regard to the child's upbring- 
ing and this is the important point has less internal 

1 I will take as an illustration the instance of a mother who was well acquainted 
with analysis and who had great faith in it as a result of the satisfactory progress 
that was being made by her ten- year-old daughter, then under treatment for 
a severe neurosis. In spite of this I found it difficult to dissuade her from super- 
vising her daughter's home-work, although it was clear even to her that doing so 
only increased the child's difficulties with her lessons. When at last, however, she 
had given this up at my request, I discovered from the chUxfs analysis that her 
mother always tried to get her to say how the analysis was getting on. Once 
more by my desire she stopped doing this; but she then began telling the child 
that she had dark rings under her eyes in the mornings a remark with which 
she had formerly accompanied her prohibition against masturbation. When 
these comments, which interfered with the analysis, had in turn been put a stop 
to, the mother began to pay an exaggerated attention to the child's clothes and 
to comment on the fact that she spent a long time in the w.c., and in this way 
increased the refractoriness of the child. At this point I gave up all attempts at 
influencing the mother on matters of this kind and accepted her interference as 
part of the analytic material; and after a certain time, during which I made 
no remonstrance, the interruptions diminished. In this case I was able to estab- 
lish the fact that they all had the same unconscious meaning for the child: they 
signified enquiries and reproaches about masturbation. That they also had an 
analogous complexive origin in the mother was proved by the fact that her 
conscious desire to stop the educational mistakes that I objected to was quite 
unavailing. Indeed, it seemed as though my advice only increased her difficulties 
in. jregard to her child. I may remark that I have had similar experiences in a 
number of other cases. 


difficulty in following that advice. Nevertheless, I do not, 
in the light of my own experiences, put much faith in the 
possibility of affecting the child's environment. It is better 
to rely upon the results achieved in the child itself, for 
these will enable it to make a better adaptation even to a 
difficult environment and will put it in a better position 
to meet any strains which that environment may lay upon it. 
This capacity for meeting strains has its limits, of course. 
Where the child's environment is too unfavourable we may 
not be completely successful in our analysis and may have 
to face the possibility of its again falling ill of a neurosis. 
I have, however, repeatedly found that even when this 
happens the results achieved, even if they did not involve 
a complete disappearance of the neurosis, have given a 
great measure of relief for the child in its difficult situation 
and have led to an improvement in its development. It 
seems quite safe to assume, moreover, that if we have 
brought about fundamental changes at the deepest levels, 
the illness, if it recurs, will not be so severe. It also 
seems worth while noting that in some cases of this sort 
a diminution in the child's neurosis has had a markedly 
favourable effect upon its neurotic environment. 1 It may 
also sometimes happen that after a successfully completed 
treatment the child can be removed to other surroundings, 
for instance to a boarding-school, a thing which had pre- 
viously not been possible owing to its neurosis and lack 
of adaptability. 

Whether it is advisable for the analyst to see the parents 
fairly frequently or whether it is wiser to limit meetings 
with them as much as possible must depend upon the 
circumstances of each individual case. In a number of 
instances I have found the second alternative the best 
means of avoiding friction in my relations with the mother. 

1 In the case of a fourteen-year-old boy, for instance, whose family life was 
extremely trying and unfortunate and who was brought to me for analysis on 
account of characterological difficulties, I learnt that the improvements brought 
about in him had had a very beneficial effect on the character of his sister, who 
was about a year older and had not been analysed, and that his mother's attitude 
to him had also changed for the better. 


The ambivalence which parents have towards their child's 
analysis also helps to explain a fact which is at once sur- 
prising and painful to the inexperienced analyst namely, 
that even the most successful treatment is not likely to 
receive much acknowledgment from the parents. Although 
I have, of course, often come across parents with plenty 
of insight, yet I have found in the majority of cases that 
they very easily forgot the symptoms which made them 
bring their child for analysis and overlooked the import- 
ance of any improvements that took place. In addition to 
this we must remember that they are not in a position to 
form a judgment upon one part, and that the most im- 
portant, of our results. The analysis of adults proclaims 
its value by removing difficulties which interfere with the 
patient's life. We ourselves know, though the parents as 
a rule do not, that in child analysis we are preventing the 
occurrence of difficulties of the same kind or even of 
psychoses. A parent, while regarding serious symptoms in 
its child as an annoyance, does not as a rule recognize 
their full importance, for the very reason that they have 
not so great an effect on the child's actual life as a neurotic 
illness has on the life of a grown-up person. And yet I 
think we shall be well content to forgo our full due of 
recognition from that quarter so long as we bear in mind 
that the aim of our work is to secure the well-being of the 
child and not the gratitude of its mother and father. 



TYPICAL analyses at the age of puberty differ in many 
essentials from analyses in the latency period. The 
impulses of the child are more powerful, the activ- 
ity of his phantasy greater and his ego has other aims and 
another relation to reality. On the other hand there are 
strong points of similarity with the analysis of the small 
child, owing to the fact that at the age of puberty we 
once again meet with a greater dominance of the emotions 
and the unconscious and a much richer life of the imagina- 
tion. Moreover, at this age manifestations of anxiety and 
affect are very much more acute than in the latency period, 
and area kind of recrudescence of the liberations of anxiety 
which are so characteristic of small children. 

But the efforts of the adolescent to ward off and modify 
his^ anxiety * task which has all along been one of the 
main functions of the ego are more successful than those 
of the small child. For he has developed his various in- 
terests and activities to a great extent with the object of 
mastering that anxiety, of over-compensating for it and of 
masking it from himself and from others. He achieves this 
in part by assuming the attitude of defiance and rebellious- 
ness that is characteristic of puberty. This provides a great 
technical difficulty in analyses at puberty; for unless we 
very quickly gain access to the patient's anxiety and to 
those affects which he principally manifests in a defiant 
and negative attitude in the transference, it may very 


well happen that the analysis will suddenly be broken off. 
I may say that in analysing boys of this age I have re- 
peatedly found that they have anticipated violent physical 
attacks from me during their first sessions. 

The fourteen-year-old Willy, for example, failed to come 
to his second hour's analysis and was only with great diffi- 
culty persuaded by his mother to 'give it one more chance'. 
During this third hour I succeeded in showing him that he 
identified me with the dentist. He asserted, it is true, that 
he was not afraid of the dentist (of whom my appearance 
reminded him) but the interpretation of the material that 
he brought was sufficient to convince him that he was; for 
it showed him that he expected not only to have a tooth 
pulled out but his whole body cut in pieces. By lessening 
his anxiety in this respect I established the analytic situa- 
tion. True, in the further course of his analysis it often 
happened that large quantities of anxiety were liberated, 
but his resistance was in essence kept within the analytic 
situation and the continuance of the analysis was assured. 

In other cases, too, where I have observed signs of 
latent anxiety, I have set about interpreting them in the 
very first hour of treatment, and thus at once begun to re- 
duce the child's negative transference. But even in cases 
where the anxiety is not immediately recognizable it may 
suddenly break out if the analytic situation is not soon 
established by interpreting the unconscious material. This 
material is closely analogous to that presented by the small 
child. At the ages of puberty and pre-puberty boys busy 
themselves in their phantasy with people and things in the 
same way as small children play with toys. What Peter, 
aged three and three-quarters, expressed by means of little 
carts and trains and motors, the fourteen-year-old Willy 
expressed in long discourses, lasting for months, on the 
constructional differences between various kinds of motors, 
bicycles, motor-cycles, and so on. Where Peter pushed 
along carts and compared them with one another, Willy 
would be passionately interested in the question of which 
cars and which drivers would win some race; and whereas 


Peter paid a tribute of admiration to the toy man's skill in 
driving and made him perform all sorts of feats, Willy for 
his part was never tired of singing the praises of his idols 
of the sporting world. 

The imaginative activities of the adolescent are, how- 
ever, more adapted to reality and to his stronger ego-in- 
terests, and their phantasy content is therefore much less 
easily recognizable than in small children. Moreover, the 
adolescent's actual activities are greater and his relations 
to reality more strong, and this again alters the character 
of his phantasies. 1 The impulse to give evidence of his 
courage in the real world and the desire for competition 
with others become more prominent. This is one of the 
reasons why sport, which offers so much scope for rivalry 
with others no less than for admiration of their brilliant 
feats and which also provides a means of overcoming 
anxiety, plays so large a part in the adolescent's life and 

These phantasies, which give expression to his rivalry 
with his father for the possession of his mother and in re- 
spect of sexual potency, are accompanied, as in the small 
child, by feelings of hatred and aggression in every form 
and are also often followed by anxiety and a sense of guilt. 
But the mechanisms peculiar to the age of puberty conceal 
these facts very much better than do the mechanisms of the 
small child. The boy at puberty takes as his models heroes, 
great men, and so on. He can the more easily maintain his 
identification with these objects since they are far removed 
from him; and he can also make a more stable over-com- 
pensation towards them for the negative feelings attaching 
to his father-imagos. In thus dividing up his father-imago 
he diverts his violent destructive tendencies to other ob- 
jects. If, therefore, we bring together his over-compen- 

1 In many analyses of boys of the pre-pubertal period or sometimes even the 
latency period, most of the time is taken up with stories about Red Indians, or 
with detective stories, or with phantasies about travel, adventures and fighting, 
told in serial form and often associated with descriptions of imaginary technical 
inventions, such as special kinds of boats, machines, cars, contrivances used in 
warfare, and so on. 


satory admiration for some objects and his excessive hatred 
and scorn for others, such as schoolmasters, relations, etc., 
which we uncover during analysis, we can find our way to a 
complete analysis of his Oedipus complex and affects just 
as we can in the case of quite young children. 

In some instances repression has led to such an extreme 
limitation of personality that the adolescent has only one 
single definite interest left say, a particular sport. A single 
interest of this sort is equivalent to an unvarying game 
played by a small child to the exclusion of all others. It has 
become the representative of all his repressed phantasies 
and has the character of an obsessional symptom rather 
than a sublimation. Monotonous stories about football or 
bicycling may for months form the one topic of conversation 
in his analysis. Out of this representative content, appar- 
ently so absolutely lacking in imagination, we have to elicit 
the true material of his repressed phantasies. If we follow 
a technique analogous to that of dream- and game-inter- 
pretation and take into account the mechanisms of dis- 
placement, condensation, symbolic representation and so 
on, and if we notice the connections between minute signs 
of anxiety in him and his general affective state we can get 
behind this fa$ade of monotonous interest and gradually 
penetrate into the deepest complexes of his mind. 1 An 
analogy is to be found here with a certain extreme type of 
latency period analysis. We may recall the seven-year-old 
Greta's 2 monotonous drawing, which was quite lacking in 
phantasy but which was all I had to go on for months in 
her analysis; or Egon's case, 3 which was of a still more ex- 
treme type. These children showed to an excessive degree 
the limitation of phantasy and of means of representation 
that is normal in the latency period. I have come to the 
conclusion that, on the one hand, where we find a similar 

1 Abraham, as he himself told me, carried out an analysis of a boy of 
about twelve years old mainly in what he described as 'stamp-language*, in 
which details like the torn corners of a stamp, for instance, would afford a means 
of approaching his castration complex. 

* Cf. Chapter IV. 

3 Cf. Chapter IV. 


limitation of interests and means of expression at the age 
of puberty we are dealing with a protracted period of 
latency, and, on the other, where there is an extensive limit- 
ation of imaginative activities (as in inhibitions in play, 
etc.) in early childhood it is a case of premature onset 
of that period. In either case, whether latency begins too 
soon or ends too late, severe disturbances in the child's 
development are indicated; for such an undue extension 
of that period is accompanied by an undue increase of the 
phenomena that normally go with it. 

I shall now bring forward one or two examples to illus- 
trate what seems to me the proper technique for analysis 
at the age of puberty. In the analysis of the fifteen-year-old 
Bill, his uninterrupted chain of associations about his 
bicycle and about particular parts of it for example, his 
anxiety lest he should have damaged it by riding too fast 
had provided abundant material concerning his castration 
complex and his sense of guilt about masturbation. 1 In this 
connection it came out that he had anxiety and feelings of 
guilt about his relations with a certain friend of his, but 
that these feelings were not based on reality but went back 
to an earlier relationship he had had with a boy called 
Tony. He told me about a bicycling tour he had made with 
his friend, in the course of which they had exchanged 
their bicycles and he had been afraid, for no reason, that his 
bicycle had been damaged. On the basis of this and other 
things of the same kind which he told me, I pointed 
out to him that his fear seemed to go back to sexual acts 
which he had done with his friend Tony in early child- 
hood. When I gave him my reasons for thinking so he 
agreed and remembered some details about that sexual 
relation. His sense of guilt about it and his consequent 

1 That riding a bicycle symbolizes masturbation and coitus has been shown 
over and over again. In my paper, 'Early Analysis* (1923), I have referred to 
the general symbolic significance of balls, footballs, bicycles, etc., as the penis, 
and have discussed more fully the libidinal phantasies connected with various 
sports in consequence of these symbolic equations; so that by dealing with the 
patient's stories about sports in their symbolic aspect and relating them to his 
general affective state, the analyst can arrive at his libidinal and aggressive 
phantasies and at the sense of guilt which they give rise to. 


fear of having damaged his penis and his body were quite 
unconscious. 1 

In the analysis of the fourteen-year-old Willy, the intro- 
ductory phase of which has been described above, I was 
able to discover, by the help of similar topics, the reason 
for his strong feelings of guilt about his younger brother. 
When, for instance, Willy spoke about his steam-engine 
being in need of repair, he at once went on to give associa- 
tions about his brother's engine which would never be any 
good again. His resistance in connection with this and his 
wish that the hour would soon come to an end turned out 
to be caused by his fear of his mother, who might discover 
the sexual relations which had existed between him and his 
younger brother and which he partly remembered. These 
relations had left behind them severe unconscious feelings 
of guilt in him, for he as the elder and stronger had at 
times forced his brother into them. Since then he had felt 
responsible for the defective development of his brother, 
who was seriously neurotic. 3 

1 Bill was a nervous and inhibited boy and had various neurotic difficulties. 
His analysis only lasted three months (54 sessions), but according- to a report 
I had of him six years after it, he was developing very well. 

* Willy's analysis was intended as a prophylactic measure. He suffered, it is 
true, from depressions, but these were not of an abnormal character. He was in 
addition not fond of company, rather inactive and withdrawn into himself and 
not on good terms with his brothers and sisters. But his social adaptation was 
normal; he was a good scholar and there was nothing definitely wrong with him. 
His analysis occupied 190 sessions. As a result of it I last had news of him 
three years after its termination this boy, who could certainly be called a 
normal child, underwent changes of such a nature that even people outside his 
immediate circle, who did not know he was being analysed, noticed them. 
It turned out, for instance, that his disinclination to gx> to the theatre or the 
cinema was connected with a severe inhibition of his epistemophilic instincts^ 
although, as has been said, he did his lessons well. When this inhibition had 
been removed, his mental horizon became wider and his general intelligence 
improved. The analysis of his strongly passive attitude started him on a number 
of activities. His attitude to his brothers grew better, as did his powers of social 
adaptation. These and other changes made a much more free, well-balanced and 
mature person of him; and moreover these changes, though not in themselves 
perhaps very decisive, reflected certain deeper changes which would almost 
certainly become of importance later on. For along with the removal of his 
inactive attitude in ordinary life there went a change in his sexual orientation. 
His heterosexual tendencies became very much stronger and he got rid of certain 
difficulties which are admittedly the cause of disturbances of potency in later life. 
Furthermore, it turned out that his depressions were allied to thoughts of suicide 


In connection with certain associations about a steamer 
trip that he was going to make with a friend, it occurred 
to Willy that the boat might sink, and he suddenly drew 
his railway season-ticket out of his pocket and asked me if 
I could tell him when it expired. He did not know, he said, 
which numbers referred to the month and which to the 
day. The date of 'expiry' of his ticket meant the date of his 
own death; and the trip with his friend was the mutual 
masturbation which he had performed in early childhood 
with his brother, and also with a friend, and which had given 
rise to feelings of guilt and fear of death in him. Willy 
went on to say that he had emptied his electric battery in 
order not to dirty the box in which it was packed. He next 
told me how he had played football with a ping-pong ball 
with his brother indoors, and said that the ping-pong balls 
were not dangerous and one was not liable to get one's head 
banged or to break the windows with them. Here he re- 
membered an incident of his early childhood, when he had 
received a hard blow from a football and lost consciousness. 
He had suffered no injury, but his nose or his teeth might 
easily have been hurt, he said. The memory of this incident 
proved to be a cover memory for his relations with an older 
friend who had seduced him. The ping-pong balls repre- 
sented his younger brother's comparatively small and 
harmless penis, and the football that of his older friend. 
But since in his relations to his brother he identified him- 
self with the friend who had seduced him, those relations 
aroused a strong sense of guilt in him on account of the 
supposed damage he had done his brother. His emptying 

and went deeper than appeared at first. And his withdrawal into himself and 
^felike of company were based on a very decided flight from reality. These, I 
may add, were only some of the difficulties from which the boy was suffering, 
as his deep-going analysis showed. 

In this connection I should like to point out how severe the difficulties of even 
normal children are (cf. Inge's case, for instance). This fact of analytic experience 
is borne out by observations of everyday life; for it is surprising how often people 
who have hitherto seemed quite normal will break down with a neurosis or 
commit suicide for some quite slight cause. But, as the treatment of normal 
adults shows, even those persons who never do have a neurotic illness are burdened 
with inhibitions in intellectual and sexual matters and with a lack of capacity for 
enjoyment whose extent cannot be gauged except by psycho-analysis. 


of the battery and his fear of dirtying the box were deter- 
mined by his anxiety about the defilement and injury which 
he had brought upon his brother by putting his penis into 
his mouth and forcing him to perform fellatio and which 
he himself expected to suffer as a result of having done 
that act with his older friend. His fear that he had dirtied 
and injured his brother internally was founded on sadistic 
phantasies about his brother and led to still deeper causes 
of his anxiety and guilt, namely, his sadistic masturbation 
phantasies directed against his parents. Thus, starting from 
his confession about his relations with his brother a con- 
fession expressed in symbolic form in his associations about 
the steam-engine which needed repairing we gained 
access not only to other experiences and events in his life 
but to the deepest levels of anxiety in him. I should also 
like to draw attention to the wealth of symbolic forms in 
which the material was put forward. This is typical of 
analyses at the age of puberty, and, as in analyses of early 
childhood, calls for a correspondingly extensive interpreta- 
tion of the symbols employed. 

Let us now turn to the analysis of girls at the age of 
puberty. The onset of menstruation arouses strong anxiety 
in the girl. In addition to the various other meanings which 
it has and with which we are familiar, it is, in the last re- 
sort, the outward and visible sign that the interior of her 
body and the children contained there have been totally 
destroyed. For this reason the development of a completely 
feminine attitude in her takes longer and is beset by more 
difficulties than is the case with the boy in establishing his 
masculine position. As a result, her masculine components 
may become reinforced at the age of puberty; or she may 
only accomplish a partial development, mostly on the in- 
tellectual side, remaining, as far as her sexual life and per- 
sonality are concerned, in the latency stage sometimes even 
beyond the age of puberty. In analysing the active type of 
girl with an attitude of rivalry towards the male sex, we 
often begin by getting material similar to that produced by 
the boy. Very soon, however, the differences in structure 



between the masculine and the feminine castration com- 
plexes make themselves felt, as we get down to the deeper 
levels of her mind and meet with the anxiety and sense of 
guilt which are derived from her feelings of aggression 
against her mother and which have led her to reject the 
feminine role and contributed to the formation of her 
castration complex. We now discover that it is her fear of 
having her body destroyed by her mother which has caused 
her thus to refuse to adopt the position of woman and 
mother. In this stage of her analysis the ideas she produces 
are very similar to what we get in small girls. In the second 
type, the girl whose sexual life is strongly inhibited, an- 
alysis is at first usually occupied with subjects of the kind 
put forward in the latency period. Stories about her school, 
her wish to please her mistress and do her lessons^well, her 
interest in needlework, etc., take up a great part of the 
time. In these cases, accordingly, we must use the methods 
appropriate to the latency period and go on resolving her 
anxiety piece-meal so that her repressed imaginative activi- 
ties are gradually freed. When we have done this to some 
extent she will bring out more strongly those fears and 
guilty feelings which, while leading in the first type of girl 
to an identification with the father, have in her case mili- 
tated against the adoption of a feminine role and caused 
a general inhibition of her sexual life. Compared to the 
adult woman, girls at the age of puberty are exposed to an 
anxiety which is much stronger and more acute in its expres- 
sion, even where their position is predominantly a feminine 
one. A defiant and negative attitude in the transference is 
characteristic of this age and necessitates prompt establish- 
ment of the analytic situation. Again, analysis will often 
show that the girl's feminine position is falsely exaggerated 
and thrust into the foreground so as to conceal and keep 
under the anxiety arising from her masculinity complex 
and, deeper still, the fears derived from her earliest feminine 
attitude. 1 

I shall now give an excerpt from an analysis which, 

1 Cf. Joan Riviere, 'Womanliness as a Masquerade 1 (1929). 


though not absolutely typical of that period, will illustrate 
my general remarks on the technique to be applied to girls 
in pre-puberty and puberty, and will also help to demon- 
strate the difficulties attendant upon their treatment at 
that age. 

Use, aged twelve, presented certain marked schizoid 
features and her personality was unusually stunted. Not 
only had she not reached the level of an eight- or nine- 
year-old child intellectually, but she did not even possess 
the interests normal to children of that age. She was, more- 
over, inhibited in every imaginative activity to a striking 
degree. She had never played in the true sense of the word 
and took no pleasure in any occupation whatever except a 
compulsive and unimaginative sort of drawing, the char- 
acter of which will be discussed later. For instance, she did 
not care for the company of others, did not like walking in 
the streets and looking at things, and had an aversion to 
the theatre, cinema and any kind of entertainment. Her 
chief interest was in food, and disappointments in this re- 
spect always led to fits of rage and depression. She was very 
jealous of her brothers and sisters, but less on account of 
having to share her mother's love with them than for some 
fancied preference in what her mother gave them to eat. 
This unfriendly attitude towards her mother and her 
brothers and sisters went along with a poor social adapta- 
tion in general. She had no friends and apparently no de- 
sire to be liked or thought well of. Her relations with her 
mother were especially bad. From time to time she had 
violent outbursts of rage against her but she was at the 
same time strongly fixated to her. A long separation from 
her home surroundings she was sent away for two years 
to a boarding school had made no lasting change in her 

When Use was about eleven and a half years old her 
mother discovered her having sexual intercourse with her 
elder brother. This incident aroused recollections in the 
mother which told her that it was not the first of its kind. 
Analysis showed that her conviction was well founded and 


also that the relationship between Use and her brother was 
continued after its discovery. 

It was only at the urgent desire of her mother that Use 
came to be analysed, impelled by that uncritical docility far 
behind her years which, along with her attitude of hatred, 
characterized her fixation to her mother. At first I got her 
to lie down. Her scanty associations were concerned mainly 
with a comparison between the furniture in my room and 
in her home, especially her own room. She left in a state of 
great resistance, did "not want to come to analysis next day, 
and was only with great difficulty persuaded by her mother 
to do so. Now in cases of this kind it is necessary to estab- 
lish the analytic situation quickly, for the support given by 
the child's family will not last long. I had been struck by 
the movements which Use had made with her fingers in her 
first hour. She had constantly been smoothing the folds of 
her frock as she made a few remarks about my furniture 
and compared it with hers at home. So during the second 
hour, on her comparing a teapot I had in my room with 
one at home that was like it but not so beautiful, I started 
giving interpretations, I explained that her comparison be- 
tween objects really meant a comparison between people; 
she was comparing me or her mother with herself to her 
own disadvantage because she felt guilty about having 
masturbated and believed it had done her some bodily 
harm. I said that her continual smoothing out of the folds 
of her dress meant both masturbation and an attempt to 
repair her genitals. 1 She denied this strongly ; yet I could 
see the effect the interpretation had on her from the increase 
in the material she produced. Also, she did not refuse to 
come for her next hour. Nevertheless, in view of her marked 
infantility and her difficulty in expressing herself in words 
and the acute anxiety from which she appeared to suffer, 
I thought it advisable to change over to play technique. 

1 An interpretation of this kind is not given in ordei to detect something 
(such as masturbation) which the child is consciously concealing and so to get 
a hold over her. The object is to trace back the sense of guilt attaching to the 
masturbation (or whatever it may be) to its deeper sources and in that way to 
diminish it. 


During the months that followed. Use's associations 
consisted in the main of apparently utterly unimaginative 
drawings done with compasses, in which measuring and 
calculating the component parts played an important role. 
The compulsive nature of this occupation became increas- 
ingly clear. 1 After much slow and patient work it emerged 
that the various forms and colours of these component 
parts represented different people. Her compulsion to 
measure and count proved to be derived from her curi- 
osity, which had become obsessive, to know for certain 
about the inside of her mother's body and the number of 
children there, the differences between the sexes, and so 
forth. In this case, too, the inhibition of her whole person- 
ality and intellectual growth had arisen from a very early 
repression of her epistemophilic instincts which had in 
consequence undergone a complete reversal and changed 
into an obstinate antipathy to all knowledge. With the help 
of this drawing, measuring and counting we made con- 
siderable progress and Use's anxiety became less acute. Six 
months after the beginning of her treatment, therefore, I 
suggested that she should try again to carry on her analysis 
lying down, and she did so. Her anxiety grew more acute 
at once; but I was soon able to reduce it, and from that 
time on her analysis went faster. Owing to the poverty and 
monotony of her associations, this part of her analysis in 
no way came up to the normal standard of analytic work 
at this age, it is true; but as it proceeded it approximated 
more and more closely to that standard. She now began to 
want very much to satisfy her teacher and get good reports 
from her, but her severe inhibition in learning rendered 
the fulfilment of this wish impossible. It was only now that 
she began to be fully conscious of the disappointment and 
suffering which her deficiencies caused her. She would cry 
for hours at home before beginning to write her essay for 
school, and would in fact fail to get it done. She would also 

1 Use had, in fact, no real interests that she could have talked about. She was, 
it is true, a passionate readerj but she did not care what the book was about, for 
reading was for her chiefly a means of escaping from reality. 


be in despair if, before going to school, she found that she 
had not mended her stockings and they were in holes. 
Again and again her associations to her failure in learning 
led us to questions of a deficiency in her clothes or her 
body. For months on end her analytic hour was filled, 
along with stories about her school, with monotonous re- 
marks about her cuffs, the collar of her blouse, her ties and 
every single item of her clothing how they were too long 
or too short or dirty or not the right colour. 1 

My material for analysis was at this time mainly taken 
from the details of her failure in her school essays. To her 
unceasing complaints that she had nothing to write about 
the subject set I always replied by asking her to associate 
on that subject, and these forced phantasies 2 were very 
instructive. 3 Doing her school work meant an acknow- 
ledgment of the fact that she did not know, in the sense 
that she was ignorant of what went on when her parents 
copulated, or of what was inside her mother; and all the 
anxiety and obstinacy connected with this fundamental 
ignorance were stimulated anew in her by each school task. 
As in many other children, having to write an essay signified 
for her having to make a confession, and this touched her 
anxiety and feelings of guilt very nearly. For instance, one 
of the subjects set, 'A Description of the Kurfursten- 
damm', 4 led to associations about shop windows and their 
contents and about things she would like to possess, as, 
for instance, a very large decorated match-box which she 
had seen in a shop window when she was out walking with 
her mother. They had actually gone into the shop and her 
mother had struck one of the large matches to try it. She, 
Use, would have liked to do the same but refrained out of 
fear of her mother and the shop assistant, who represented 

1 Cf. J. C. Flugel, The Psychology of Clothes (1930). 

2 Cf. Ferenczi, *On Forced Phantasies* (1924). 

3 In a paper, 'History as Phantasy' (1929), Ella Sharpe has given an account 
of a case of an adult psychotic, in which for a long time she got her material for 
analysis almost entirely from the patient's interest in historical events and was 
able on that basis to*penetrate to the lowest mental levels. 

* One of the main shopping centres of Berlin. 


a father-imago. The match-box and its contents, like the 
contents of the shop windows, represented her mother's 
body, and the striking of the match meant coitus between 
her parents. Her envy of her mother, who possessed her 
father in copulation, and her aggressive impulses against 
her were the cause of her deepest feelings of guilt. Another 
subject for a composition was 'St. Bernard Dogs'. When 
Use had mentioned their cleverness in rescuing people who 
were freezing to death she began to have a great resistance. 
Her further associations showed that children buried in 
the snow were in her imagination children who had been 
abandoned. It proved that the difficulties she felt about 
this subject were based on her death-wishes against her 
younger sisters, both before and after their birth, and her 
fear lest she should herself be abandoned by her mother as 
a punishment. Moreover, every school task she had to do, 
whether oral or written, stood to her for a confession 
about a whole number of things. And to these difficulties 
were added special inhibitions about mathematics, geo- 
metry, geography and so on. 1 

As Use's difficulties in learning continued to diminish, 
a very great change took place in her whole nature. She 
became capable of social adaptation, made friends with 
other girls and got on much better with her parents and 
her brothers and sisters. Her interests now approximated 
to what was suitable to a girl of her age; and as she was 
now a good scholar and a favourite with her mistresses and 
had become an almost too-obedient daughter, her family 
were completely satisfied with the success of her analysis 
and saw no reason for its continuance. But I was not of 
their opinion. It was obvious that at this point, when she 
was thirteen and physical puberty had already begun, Use 
had only just accomplished a really successful transition to 
the latency period and grown able to satisfy the standards 
of that period and to achieve a social adaptation. However 

1 In my paper, 'The Role of the School in the Libidinal Development of the 
Child* (1923), I have discussed the wide significance of specific inhibitions 
attaching to each special branch of knowledge. 


gratifying these analytic results might be, the child I saw 
before me was still a completely unindependent being and 
still excessively fixated to her mother. Though her circle 
of interests was greatly widening she was still hardly cap- 
able of having any ideas of her own. She usually prefaced 
her expressions with such words as 'Mother thinks'. Her 
wish to please, the great care that she now took of her 
appearance in contrast to her former total indifference to 
it, her need for love and recognition and even her efforts to 
do better than her schoolmates all these sprang almost 
entirely from her desire to please her mother and her mis- 
tresses. Her homosexual attitude was very strong and 
there were as yet scarcely any heterosexual impulses visible 
in her. 

The continuation of the analysis, which now proceeded 
in a normal way, led to great changes not only in this 
respect but in the whole development of Use's personality. 
In this she was very much helped by the fact that we were 
able to analyse the great anxiety which the onset of men- 
struation aroused in her at this time. Her excessive positive 
attachment to her mother, against whom she nevertheless 
still had occasional outbursts of rage, was now seen to be 
caused by anxiety and a sense of guilt. Further analysis, by 
completely uncovering her original attitude of rivalry with 
her mother and the intense hatred and envy she felt to- 
wards her on account of her possessicn of the father (and 
his penis) and the pleasure she gave him, was able greatly 
to strengthen her heterosexual tendencies and diminish her 
homosexual ones. It was only now that her psychological 
puberty really set in. Before this, she had not been in a 
position to criticize her mother and form her own opinions, 
because this would have signified making a violent sadistic 
attack upon her mother. The analysis of this sadism enabled 
Use to achieve an independence of thought and action in 
keeping with her age. At the same time her opposition to 
her mother appeared more plainly, but it did not lead to 
special difficulties since these were outweighed by her all- 
round improvement. Somewhat later, after an analysis 


extending over 425 hours, Use was able to achieve a 
firm and affectionate relationship with her mother and 
at the same time to establish a satisfactory heterosexual 
position. 1 

In this case, we see how the girl's failure to deal with 
her over-strong sense of guilt was able to disturb not only 
her transition to the latency period but the whole later 
course of her development. Her affects, which found an 
outlet in occasional outbursts of rage, had been displaced 
and her anxiety unsuccessfully modified. Although she 
made the unmistakable impression of being an unhappy 
and unsatisfied individual, she was not aware of her own 
anxiety and of her dissatisfaction with herself. It was a 
great advance in her analysis, when I was able to make her 
understand that she was unhappy and to show her that she 
felt inferior and unloved and that she was in despair about 
it and, in her hopelessness, would make no attempt to gain 
the love of others. After this, in place of her former appar- 
ent indifference to affection and praise from the world 
around her there appeared an exaggerated longing for 
them, which is characteristic of the latency period and 
which led to that attitude of extreme obedience and fixa- 
tion to her mother described above. The later part of her 
analysis, which uncovered the deeper foundations of her 
severe feelings of guilt and of her failure, was far easier 
now that she was fully aware of her illness. 

Allusion has earlier been made to sexual acts com- 
mitted between Use and her brother, who was a year and 
a half older than herself. Not long after I had begun her 
analysis I undertook the treatment of her brother as well. 
Both analyses showed that the sexual connection between 
them went back to early childhood and had been continued 
throughout the latency period, although at rare intervals 
and in a mitigated form. The remarkable thing was that 
Use had no conscious sense of guilt about it but de- 
tested her brother. The analysis of her brother had the 

1 Two and a half years after the completion of her analysis I heard that she 
was developing well in spite of great external difficulties. 


effect of making him put a complete stop to these sexual 
relations, and this at first aroused a still more intense 
hatred of him in her. But later on in her analysis, along 
with the other changes brought about in her, she began 
to have strong feelings of guilt and anxiety about these 
episodes. 1 

Use's method of modifying her feelings of guilt, by 
which she refused all responsibility for her actions and 
adopted a very unpleasant, defiant and antipathetic attitude 
to her environment, is, I have found, typical of a certain 
class of asocial individual. In Kenneth, 2 for instance, who 
displayed such complete indifference to the opinions of 
others and such extraordinary want of shame, there were 
similar mechanisms at work. And they are to be found even 
in the more normal, merely 'naughty' child. Analyses of 
children of every age go to show that the lessening of their 
latent feelings of guilt and anxiety leads to a better social 
adaptation and to a strengthening of their sense of personal 
responsibility the more so the deeper the analysis goes. 

This case also gives us certain indications for deciding 
which factors in the development of a girl are necessary 
for her to make a successful transition to the latency period, 
and which to make the further transition to puberty. As 
has already been said, we often find that at the age of 
puberty the girl is still in a protracted latency period. By 
analysing the early stages of her development and the early 
anxiety and feelings of guilt derived from her aggressive- 
ness against her mother, we can enable her to make not 
only a satisfactory transition to the stage of puberty but a 
subsequent transition to adult life and can thus ensure 
the complete development of her feminine sex-life and 

There yet remains to call attention to the technique em- 
ployed in the treatment of this case. In the first part of it 
I used the technique belonging to the latency period, and 

1 In Chapter VII. we shall return to a fuller discussion of this relationship in 
another connection. 
a Cf. Chapter IV. 


in the second that belonging to puberty. Reference has 
repeatedly been made in these pages to the connecting 
links between the modes of analysis appropriate to different 
stages. Let me say at once that I regard the technique of 
early analysis as the basis of the technique applicable to 
children of every age. In the last chapter I have said that 
my method of analysing children of the latency period was 
entirely based on the play technique I had worked out for 
small children. But as the cases discussed in the present 
chapter show, the technique of early analysis is indispens- 
able for many patients at the age of puberty as well; for 
we shall be unsuccessful with many of these often very 
difficult cases unless we sufficiently take into account the 
adolescent's need for action and for expression of phantasy 
and are careful to regulate the amount of anxiety liberated 
and, in general, adopt an exceedingly elastic technique. 

In analysing the deepest strata of the mind we have to 
observe certain definite conditions. In comparison with the 
modified anxiety of the higher strata, the anxiety belong- 
ing to the deep levels is far greater both in amount and 
intensity, and it is therefore imperative that its liberation 
should be duly regulated. We do this by continually re- 
ferring the anxiety back to its sources and resolving it and 
by systematically analysing the transference-situation. 

In the first chapters of this book I have described how, 
in cases where the child was very timid or unfriendly to- 
wards me at first, I immediately began to analyse its nega- 
tive transference and to detect and interpret the hidden 
signs of latent anxiety in it in good time, before they became 
manifest and led to an anxiety-attack. In order to be able 
to do this the analyst must be thoroughly conversant with 
the anxiety-reactions of the earliest phases of the child's 
development and with the defensive mechanisms employed 
by its ego against them. In fact, he must have a theoretic 
knowledge of the structure of the deepest layers of the 
mind. His interpretative work must be directed to that 
part of the material which is associated with the greatest 
amount of latent anxiety and must uncover the anxiety- 


situations which have been activated. He must also estab- 
lish the connection between that latent anxiety and (a) the 
particular sadistic phantasies underlying it, () the defen- 
sive mechanisms employed by the ego to master it. That is 
to say, in resolving a given piece of anxiety by interpreta- 
tion he should follow up a little way the threats of the 
super-ego, the impulses of the id and the attempts of the 
ego to reconcile the two. In this way he will be able gradu- 
ally to bring into consciousness the whole content of the 
particular piece of anxiety which is being stirred up at the 
time. To do this it is absolutely necessary that he should 
keep to strictly analytic methods in regard to his patient, 
since it is only by abstaining from exerting any educational 
or moral influence whatever on the child that he can ever 
analyse the deepest levels of its mind. For if he prevents it 
from bringing out certain id-impulses he will inevitably 
keep down other impulses as well ; and even in the small 
child he will find it hard enough without that to make his 
way down to its most primitive oral-sadistic and anal- 
sadistic phantasies. 

Moreover, by having the liberation of its anxiety sys- 
tematically regulated the child will not suffer from a too 
great accumulation of anxiety during intervals in its analysis 
or if the treatment is broken off before being completed. 
In such circumstances, it is true, the anxiety often does 
become more acute for the time being, but the child's ego is 
soon able to bind it and modify it, and to a greater degree 
than before analysis. In some instances the child may 
escape even a passing phase of more acute anxiety of this 
kind. 1 

1 In a number of instances, ranging from children of three to twelve years of 
age, in which I had to break off analysis after a treatment of from three to nine 
months, I have found that the child presented a considerably less disquieting 
picture than when it first came to me. Besides the cases of Rita, Trude and Ruth, 
which the reader will recall (Chapter II.), I may mention the case of a boy of 
twelve who came to me with outspoken ideas of being poisoned. After six 
months* analysis he had to go abroad. By that time his fears had not only been 
lessened but he showed favourable changes in his general condition, which were 
observable, among other things, in a greater ease of manner. (When last I heard 
of him, two and a half years after the end of his treatment, this improvement had 
been maintained.) In every instance, moreover, the child itself has felt better. And 


After having had our attention so persistently called to 
the similarities between the age of puberty and the early 
period of the child's life, let us once more shortly review 
their differences. The fuller development of the ego at the 
age of puberty and its more grown-up interests demand a 
technique approximating to that of adult analysis. In cer- 
tain children or in certain sections of an analysis we may 
have to employ other methods of representation, but, in 
general, in analyses at the age of puberty we have to rely 
chiefly on verbal associations in order to enable the adoles- 
cent to establish a complete relation with reality and with 
his normal field of interest. 

For these reasons, before undertaking the analysis of 
children at puberty the analyst must thoroughly under- 
stand the technique of adult analysis. In general, indeed, 
I consider a regular training in the analysis of adults as a 
necessary groundwork for special training as a child- 
analyst. No one who has not gained adequate experience 
and done a fair amount of work on adults should enter 
upon the technically more difficult field of child analysis. 
In order to be able to preserve the fundamental principles 
of analytic treatment in the modified form necessitated by 
the child's mechanisms at the various stages of its develop- 
ment, he must, besides being fully trained in the technique 
of early analysis, possess complete mastery of the technique 
employed in analysing adults. 

although an unfinished analysis of this sort cannot do more than lessen the child r s 
neurosis, it does much, in my judgment, to obviate the danger of a psychosis or 
severe obsessional neurosis setting in later on. I have come to the conviction that 
every step, however slight, in the direction of resolving anxiety in the deepest 
levels of the mind effects, if not a cure, at least an improvement of the child's 


IN the preceding pages we have discussed the technique 
by which children can be as deeply analysed as grown- 
up persons. We shall now go on to consider the pro- 
blem of indications for treatment. 

The first question that arises is : what difficulties are to 
be regarded as normal and what as neurotic in children 
when are they simply being naughty and when are they 
really ill? In general, one expects to meet with certain typi- 
cal difficulties, varying considerably in quantity and effect, 
which, so long as they do not exceed certain bounds, are 
regarded as inevitable accompaniments of the growth of 
the child. But for this very reason, we are, I think, in- 
clined to pay too little attention to the question how far 
these everyday difficulties are to be regarded as beginnings 
and signs of serious developmental disturbances. 

Derangements in eating, if they are at all serious, and, 
above all, manifestations of anxiety, whether in the form 
of night-terrors or phobias, are generally recognized as 
definitely neurotic manifestations. But a study of small 
children shows that their anxiety takes on very various and 
disguised forms, and that even at the early age of two or 
three they exhibit modifications of anxiety which imply 
the action of a very complicated process of repression. 
After they have got over their night-terrors, for instance, 
they are still for some time subject to disturbances of sleep, 
such as getting off to sleep late, waking up early, having a 
restless or easily disturbed sleep, being unable to sleep in 
the afternoon all of which are found in analysis to be 



modified forms of the original pavor nocturnus. To this 
group also belong the many fads and ceremonies, often of 
so disquieting a nature, which children indulge in at bed- 
time. In the same way, their original crude disturbances 
in eating l will often turn into a habit of eating slowly or 
not masticating properly or into a general lack of appetite 
or even merely into bad table manners. 

It is easy to see that the anxiety children feel with re- 
gard to particular people often gives place to general timid- 
ity. Still later it appears often as no more than an inhibition 
in social intercourse or as shyness. All these degrees of fear 
are only modifications of their original anxiety which, as 
in the case of fear of people, may determine their whole 
social behaviour later on. An outspoken phobia of certain 
animals will go over into a dislike of them or of animals in 
general. Fear of inanimate things, which to small children 
are always endowed with life, will come out later on as an 
inhibition of activities connected with them. Thus in one 
instance a child's phobia of the telephone apparatus be- 
came, in later years, an aversion to telephoning; and in 
other cases, a fear of engines gave rise to a dislike of travel- 
ling or a tendency to get very tired on journeys. In others 
again, a fear of streets grew into a disinclination to go out 
for walks; and so on. Into this class come inhibitions in 
sport 2 and active games, and these inhibitions can show 
themselves in all kinds of ways, such as distaste for special 
forms of sport or general dislike of them, or liability 
to fatigue or clumsiness, etc. To this class, too, belong the 
idiosyncrasies, habits and inhibitions of the normal adult. 
The normal adult can rationalize his dislikes which are 
never wanting in all sorts of ways by calling the object 
of them 'boring*, 'in bad taste* or 'unhygienic' and many 
other things, whereas in a child dislikes and habits of this 
kind which, it must be admitted, are more intense and less 
adapted socially than in the adult, are attributed to 'naughti- 

1 In Chapter IX. we shall discuss the nature of the anxiety underlying 
infantile disturbances in eating. 

* Cf. my paper 'Infant Analysis' (1923)* 


ness'. Yet they are invariably an expression of anxiety and 
feelings of guilt. They are intimately related to phobias 
and usually to obsessional ceremonials as well and are 
complexively determined in every detail; and for this 
reason they are often very resistant to educative measures, 
though they can frequently be resolved by analysis like any 
neurotic symptom. 

Space forbids the mention of more than one or two in- 
stances from this interesting field of observation. In one 
boy, opening his eyes wide and making a face was meant 
to reassure him that he was not going to go blind. In 
another, blinking served the same purpose. In yet a third, 
keeping his mouth open and then whistling signified 
a confession of having performed fellatio^ followed by a 
withdrawal of that confession. The unruly behaviour of 
children while being bathed or having their hair washed 
is, as I have repeatedly found, nothing but a hidden fear 
of being castrated or having their whole body destroyed. 
Nose-picking, in both children and adults, has turned out 
to represent, among other things, an anal attack on the 
bodies of their parents. The difficulties parents and nurses 
have in persuading children to perform the simplest ser- 
vices or acts of consideration difficulties which often 
make things so unpleasant for the person in charge 
invariably turn out to be determined by anxiety. A child's 
dislike, for instance, of taking an object out of a box will 
not infrequently be due to the fact that doing so signifies 
an enactment of its phantasy of making an attack on its 
mother's body. 

Children often show a kind of over-liveliness which 
often goes along with an overbearing and defiant manner 
and which people frequently mistake either for a special 
sign of 'temperament' or for disobedience, according to 
their point of view. Such behaviour is, like aggression, an 
over-compensation for anxiety, and this method of modi- 
fying anxiety greatly influences the child's character-forma- 
tion and its later attitude to society. 1 The 'fidgetiness' 

1 Cf. Reich, 'Phobic und Charakterbildung' (1930). 


which often accompanies this over-animation is, in my 
judgment, an important symptom. The motor discharges 
which the little child achieves through fidgeting often be- 
come condensed at the beginning of the latency period into 
definite stereotyped movements which are usually lost to 
view in the general picture of excessive mobility which the 
child presents. At the age of puberty, or sometimes even 
earlier, they reappear or become more obvious and form the 
basis of a tic. 1 

Repeated reference has been made to the great import- 
ance of inhibitions in play. These inhibitions, which can be 
concealed under the most diverse forms, are present in 
every degree of strength. Dislike of certain definite games 
and a lack of perseverance in any one game are examples 
of partial inhibition in play. Again, some children have 
to have someone who will play a large part in the game, 
take the initiative in it, fetch the playthings, and so on. 
Others only like games that they can play exactly accord- 
ing to set rules, or only like certain kinds of games (in 
which case they usually play them with great assiduity). 
These children suffer from a powerful repression of phan- 
tasy, accompanied, as a rule, by compulsive traits; and their 
games have the character of an obsessional symptom rather 
than a sublimation. 

There is a kind of play behind which especially during 
the transition into the latency period stereotyped or rigid 
movements are concealed. For instance, an eight-year-old 
boy used to play at being a policeman on point duty and 
used to carry out certain movements and repeat them for 
hours together, remaining motionless in certain attitudes 
for long periods at a time. In other cases some particular 
game will conceal a peculiar restlessness closely allied to tic. 

A dislike of active games in general and want of skill in 
them is a forerunner of later inhibitions in sport and is 
always an important sign that something is wrong. 

1 In my paper, *Zur Genese des Tic* (1925), I have shown that a tic should 
often be regarded as a sign of faulty development and of the existence of deep- 
seated and concealed disturbances. 


In many cases inhibitions in playing are the basis of 
inhibitions in learning. In several cases where children who 
were inhibited in play did become good scholars it turned 
out that their impulse to learn was mainly compulsive, and 
some of them later on especially at puberty developed 
severe limitations in their capacity to learn. Inhibitions in 
learning, like inhibitions in play, can possess every degree 
of strength and every variety of form, such as indolence, 
lack of interest, strong dislike of particular subjects or an 
inability to learn lessons except at the last moment or 
under compulsion. Such inhibitions in learning are often 
the basis of later vocational inhibitions whose earliest 
signs, therefore, are often already to be seen in the small 
child's inhibitions in play. 

In my paper, 'The Development of a Child' (1921), I 
have said that the resistance children show to sexual en- 
lightenment is a very important indication of something 
being wrong. If they abstain from asking any questions on 
the subject and such an abstention often succeeds to, or 
alternates with, obsessive asking we must regard it as 
a symptom founded upon often very serious affections of 
the epistemophilic instincts. As we well know, the weari- 
some questionings of the child are often prolonged into the 
brooding mania of the adult with which neurotic disorders 
are always associated. 

A tendency to plaintiveness in children and a habit of 
falling down and knocking or hurting themselves are to be 
regarded as expressions of various fears and feelings of 
guilt. Analysis of children has convinced me that such 
recurrent minor accidents and sometimes more seri- 
ous ones are substitutes for self-inflicted injuries of a 
graver kind and may represent attempts at suicide with 
insufficient means. With many children, especially boys, 
excessive sensibility to pain is often replaced very early on 
by an exaggerated indifference to it, but this indifference 
is, I have found, elaborate defence against, and 
modification of, anxiety. 

The child's attitude towards presents is also very typical. 


Many children are quite insatiable in this respect, and 
no present can give them real and lasting satisfaction or 
lead to anything but disappointment. Others have too little 
desire for them and are equally indifferent to every gift. 
In grown-up people we can observe the same two attitudes. 
Among women there are those who are always longing for 
new clothes but who never really enjoy them and appar- 
ently never have 'anything to put on'. These are generally 
women who are always hunting after amusement and who 
more often than not change their love-object very easily 
and cannot find true sexual satisfaction. Then there are 
those who are bored and desire nothing very much. In 
analysis it becomes clear that presents signify to the child 
all the love-gifts which it has had to do without its 
mother's milk and breast, its father's penis, urine, stool 
and babies. Presents also alleviate its sense of guilt by sym- 
bolizing the free gift of things which it has wanted to take 
by sadistic means. In its unconscious it regards not getting 
presents, like all other frustrations, as a punishment for the 
aggressive impulses that are bound up with its libidinal de- 
sires. In other cases, where the child is still more unfavour- 
ably situated in regard to its excessive sense of guilt or has 
failed to modify it, its fear of fresh disappointments will 
cause it to suppress its libidinal desires altogether so that 
the presents it does receive afford it no real pleasure. 

The child who is unable to tolerate its early frustrations, 
for the reasons given above, will in its unconscious also 
regard every later frustration it receives in the course of 
its upbringing as a punishment, with the result that it 
becomes unmanageable and badly adapted to reality. In 
bigger children and in some cases in little children too 
this incapacity to tolerate frustrations is often covered over 
by a seeming adaptation, on account of their need to please 
the people about them. An apparent adaptation of this kind 
is liable, especially in the latency period, to conceal from 
view the presence of deeper-seated difficulties. 

The attitude many children have towards festivals is also 
very characteristic. They look forward to Christinas Day, 


Easter and so on with great impatience, only to be left 
completely unsatisfied by them when they are over. Days 
like these, and sometimes even Sundays, hold out the hope 
to a greater or lesser degree of a renewal, a 'fresh start', as 
it were, and, in connection with the presents that are ex- 
pected, of a making good of all the bad things that they 
have suffered and done. Family occasions touch very deeply 
the complexes connected with the child's situation in home- 
life. A birthday, for instance, always represents re-birth, 
and other children's birthdays stimulate the conflicts con- 
nected with the birth of real or imaginary brothers and 
sisters. The way in which children react to occasions of 
this kind is therefore one of the tests of the presence of a 
neurosis in them. 

Dislike of the theatre, cinema and shows of all kinds 
is intimately connected with disturbances of the child's 
epistemophilic instincts. The basis of this disturbance is, 
I have found, a repressed interest in the sexual life of its 
parents and in its own sexual life. This attitude, which 
brings about an inhibition of many sublimations, is ulti- 
mately due to anxiety and feelings of guilt belonging to a 
very early stage of development and arising from aggres- 
sive phantasies directed against sexual intercourse between 
the parents. 

I should also like to emphasize the part played by 
psychological factors in the various physical illnesses to 
which children are liable. I have become convinced that 
many children mostly express their anxiety and sense of 
guilt by falling ill (in which case getting well has the 
effect of allaying anxiety) and that in general the frequent 
illnesses they go through at a certain age are partly brought 
on by neurosis. This psychogenetic element has the effect 
of increasing not only the child's liability to infection, but 
the severity and length of the illness itself. 1 In general, I 
have found that after analysis the child is much less liable 

1 In some cases of whooping-cough, for Instance, in which analytic treatment 
was resumed after only a short interruption, I have found that the coughing 
fits increased in violence during the first week of analysis but rapidly decreased 
after that and that the illness ended much sooner than usual. In these cases every 


to colds in especial. In some cases its susceptibility to them 
has been almost entirely removed. 

We know that neurosis and character-formation are in- 
timately connected and that in many analyses of adults 
extensive changes of character take place as well. Now 
whereas the analysis of older children nearly always effects 
favourable changes in character, early analysis, in removing 
a neurosis, brings about a far-reaching removal of educa- 
tional difficulties. There thus seems to be a certain analogy 
between the small child's educational difficulties and what 
in the older child and the adult are known as charactero- 
logical difficulties. It is a noteworthy fact that in talking of 
'character* we think primarily of the individual himself 
even when his character has a disturbing influence on his 
environment, but that in talking of 'educational difficul- 
ties' we think first and foremost of the difficulties which 
the people in charge of the child have to contend with. In 
this way we often overlook the fact that these educational 
difficulties are the expression of significant processes of de- 
velopment which reach completion with the decline of the 
Oedipus complex. What come to our notice, among other 
things, as excessive educational difficulties in the child arise 
from the processes which have formed and still are forming 
its character and which underlie any later neurosis or de- 
fect of development from which it may suffer, so that they 
should more properly be regarded as characterological 
difficulties and as neurotic symptoms. 
-V From what has been said above, then, we see that the 
difficulties which are never lacking in the development of 
a small child are neurotic in character. In other words, 
every child passes through a neurosis differing only in de- 
gree from one individual to another. 1 Since psycho-analysis 

coughing fit, owing to its unconscious meaning, released severe anxiety, and this 
anxiety, again, considerably reinforced the stimulus to cough. 

1 This view, which I have maintained for a number of years now, has lately 
received valuable support. In his book, Die Frage der Laienanalyse (1926), Freud 
writes: 'Since we have learnt to see more clearly we are almost inclined to say 
that the occurrence of a neurosis in childhood is not the exception but the rule. 
It seems as though it is a thing that cannot be avoided in the course of develop- 
ment from the infantile disposition to the social life of the adult* (S. 61). 


has been found to be the most efficacious means of remov- 
ing the neuroses of adults, it seems logical to make use of 
psycho-analysis in combating the neuroses of children, and, 
moreover, seeing that every child goes through a neurosis, 
to apply it to all children. At present, owing to practical 
considerations, it is only possible to submit the neurotic 
difficulties of normal children to analytic treatment in rare 
instances. In describing indications for treatment, there- 
fore, it is important to state what signs suggest the pre- 
sence of a severe neurosis, a neurosis, that is, that places it 
beyond doubt that the child will suffer considerable diffi- 
culties in later years as well. 

We shall not stop to discuss those infantile neuroses 
whose severity is unmistakable owing to the extent and 
character of the symptoms, but shall consider one or two 
cases in which, because insufficient attention has been 
paid to the specific indications of infantile neuroses, their 
true gravity has not been recognized. The reason why the 
neuroses of children have attracted so much less attention 
than the neuroses of adults is, I think, because in many re- 
spects their outward signs differ essentially from the symp- 
toms of adults. Analysts have known, it is true, that be- 
neath the neurosis of the adult there always lay an infantile 
neurosis, but for a long time they have failed to draw the 
only possible inference from this fact, namely, that neur- 
oses must be, to say the least, extremely common among 
children and this although the child itself puts before 
them evidence enough for such a view. 

In judging what is neurotic in a child we cannot apply 
the standards proper to adults. It is by no means those 
children who approximate most nearly to non-neurotic 
adults who are the least neurotic themselves. Thus, for in- 
stance, a small child which fulfils all the requirements of 
its upbringing and does not let itself be dominated by its 
life of phantasy and instinct, which is, in fact, to all appear- 
ances completely adapted to reality and, moreover, shows 
little sign of anxiety such a child would assuredly not 
only be a precocious being and quite devoid of charm, but 


would be abnormal in the fullest sense of the word. If we 
complete this picture by supposing that its imaginative life 
has undergone the extensive repression which would be a 
necessary condition of such a development we should cer- 
tainly have cause to regard its future with concern. The 
neurosis it suffers from would not be less in degree than 
the average, but merely without symptoms, and, as we 
know from the analysis of adults, a neurosis of this kind 
is usually a serious one. 

>< Normally, we should expect to see clear traces of the 
severe struggles and crises through which the child passes 
in the first years of its life. These signs, however, differ in 
many ways from the symptoms of the neurotic adult. Up 
to a certain point the normal child brings to view its ambi- 
valence and affects, its subjection to instinctual urges and 
phantasies and the influences proceeding from its super- 
ego; and it puts certain difficulties in the way of its adapta- 
tion to reality and therefore in the way of its upbringing 
and is by no means always an 'easy* child. But if its anxiety 
and ambivalence and the obstacles it presents to its adapta- 
tion to reality go beyond a certain limit, and the difficulties 
under which it suffers and which it makes its environment 
suffer are too great, then it ought to be called a decidedly 
neurotic child. Nevertheless, I still think that a neurosis of 
this type may often be less severe than a neurosis of the type 
in which the repression of affect has been so crushing and 
has set in so early that there is hardly any visible sign left of 
emotion or anxiety in the child. What actually differentiates 
the less neurotic from the more neurotic child is, besides 
the question of quantitative differences, the manner in 
which it deals with its difficulties. 

The characteristic signs of an infantile neurosis, as de- 
scribed above, constitute a valuable point of departure for 
the study of the methods, often very obscure, by which the 
child has modified its anxiety and of the fundamental posi- 
tion which it has taken up. Thus, for example, it may be 
assumed that if a child does not like going to shows of any 
sort, such as the theatre or cinema, takes no pleasure in 


asking questions and is inhibited in its play or can only 
play certain games with no imaginative content, it is suffer- 
ing from severe inhibitions of its epistemophilic instinct 
and from an extensive repression of its imaginative life, 
although it may be otherwise well-adapted and seem to 
have no very marked troubles. Such a child will satisfy its 
desire for knowledge at a later age mostly in a very obses- 
sional way and will often produce other neurotic disturb- 
ances in the same connection. 

It has been said that in many children the original in- 
ability to tolerate frustration becomes obscured by an ex- 
tensive adaptation to the requirements of their upbringing. 
They very early become 'good' and * clever' children. But 
it is precisely these children who most commonly have 
that attitude of indifference to presents and treats, and so 
on, that has been mentioned above. If in addition to this 
attitude they show an extensive inhibition in playing and 
an excessive fixation to their objects, the probability of their 
succumbing to a neurosis in later years is very great. For 
children like these have adopted a pessimistic view of life 
and an attitude of renunciation to it. Their chief aim is to 
fight off their anxiety and feelings of guilt at all costs, even 
if it means giving up all happiness and all gratification of 
their instincts. At the same time they are more than ordin- 
arily dependent upon their objects because they look to 
their external environment for protection and support 
against their own anxiety and sense of guilt. 1 More obvi- 
ous, though not estimated at their true value either, are 
the difficulties presented by those children whose insati- 
able craving for presents goes along with an incapacity to 
tolerate the frustrations imposed on them by their up- 

It is fairly certain that in the typical cases here described 
the prospects of the child's achieving real stability of mind 
in the future are not favourable. As a rule, too, the general 
impression the child makes its way of holding itself, its 
facial expression, its movements and speech betrays an 

i Cf. M. N. Searl, 'The Flight to Reality' (1929), 


unsuccessful internal adaptation. In any case, analysis alone 
can show how severe the disturbances are. I have again and 
again emphasized the fact that the presence of a psychosis 
or of psychotic traits has often not been discovered in a 
child until it has been analysed for a considerable length of 
time. This is because the psychoses of children, like their 
neuroses, differ in many ways in their mode of expression 
from the psychoses of adults. In some children I have 
treated, whose neurosis already at an early age had the 
character of a severe obsessional neurosis in an adult, an- 
alysis showed that strong paranoid features were present. 1 

The question now to be considered is: how does a child 
show that it is fairly well adapted internally? It is a hopeful 
sign if it enjoys playing and gives free rein to its phantasy 
in doing so, being at the same time, as can be recognized 
from certain definite indications, well adapted to reality, 
and if it has really good not over-affectionate relations 
to its objects. Another good sign is if, together with this, 
it shows a relatively undisturbed development of its epis- 
temophilic impulses, so that they flow freely in a number 
of different directions, without, on the other hand, having 
that character of compulsion and intensity which is typical 
of an obsessional neurosis. The emergence of a certain 
amount of affect and anxiety is also, I think, a pre-condi- 
tion of a favourable development. These and other reasons 
for a favourable prognosis have in my experience, however, 
only a relative value and are no absolute guarantee of the 
future; for it often depends on the unforeseeable favour- 
able or unfavourable external realities which the child en- 
counters as it grows up whether its neurosis will reappear 
in later years or not. 

Furthermore it seems to me that we do not know much 
about the mental structure of the normal individual or the 
difficulties that beset his unconscious, since he has been so 
much less the object of psycho-analytic investigation than 
the neurotic. Analytic experience of healthy children of 
various ages has convinced me that even though their ego 

1 Cf. the analyses of Eraa (Chapter III.) and Egon (Chapter IV.). 


reacts in a normal way they too have to face great quanti- 
ties of anxiety, severe unconscious guilt and deep depres- 
sion and that in some cases the only thing that distinguishes 
their difficulties from those of the neurotic child is that 
they are able to deal with them in a more confident and 
active manner. The result obtained by analytic treatment 
in these cases too seems to me to prove its value even for 
children who are only very slightly neurotic. 1 There can 
be no doubt that by diminishing their anxiety and sense 
of guilt, and effecting fundamental changes in their sexual 
life analysis can exert a great influence not only on neurotic 
children but on normal ones as well. 2 

The next question to be considered is at what point the 
analysis of a child is to be regarded as completed. In adults 
we can tell this from various signs, such as that the patient 
has become capable of working and loving, of looking after 
himself in the circumstances in which he is placed and of 
making whatever decisions are necessary in the conduct of 
his life. If we know what the factors are which lead to 
failure in grown-up people and if we are alive to the pre- 
sence of similar factors in children we possess a reliable 
guide in deciding whether an analysis has reached com- 
pletion or not. 

In adult life the individual may succumb to a neurosis, 
to characterological defects, to disturbances of his capa- 
city for sublimation or to disorders of his sexual life. As 
regards neurosis, its presence at an early age can be de- 
tected, as I have endeavoured to show, by various slight 
but characteristic signs ; and its cure at that age is the best 
prophylaxis against its appearance in later years. As regards 
characterological defects and difficulties, they, too, are best 
prevented by being eliminated in childhood. Concerning 
the third point, the play of children, which enables us to 

1 Cf. the analyses of Willy (Chapter V.) and Inge (Chapter IV.). 

3 This assumption is also supported by the fact that in a cumber of cases I 
have had the child has successfully accomplished the transition to the stage of 
development next above the one it has been in, even including in some instances 
the critical transition to puberty and the transition from that period into adult 



penetrate so deeply into their minds, gives us an idea of 
when their analysis has been completed in respect of their 
future capacity for sublimation. Before we can consider the 
analysis of a small child as completed, its inhibitions in 
playing must have been largely reduced. 1 When this has 
happened its interest in the play appropriate to its age will 
have become not only deeper and more stable but will also 
have been extended in various directions. 

If, as a result of analysis, a child's obsessive interest 
in a single game becomes steadily enlarged until it covers 
many other forms of play, this process is equivalent to the 
expansion of interests and the increase of capacity for sub- 
limation which is achieved in the analysis of an adult. In 
this way, by understanding the play of children we can 
estimate their capacity for sublimation in future years ; and 
we can also tell when an analysis has sufficiently guarded 
against future inhibitions of their capacity to learn and to 

Finally, the development of the child's interests in 
games, and the variations in quantity and kind which they 
show, enable us to gauge whether a good foundation has 
been laid for its sexual life in adult years. This may be 
illustrated by the analysis of two small children a boy 
and a girl. Kurt, aged five, occupied himself at first, like 
most boys, with the toy motors and trains on my play- 
table. He picked them out from among the other toys and 
played some games with them. He compared their size and 
power, made them travel to a definite goal and expressed 
in this symbolic and, according to my experience, typical 
way, a comparison in respect of his penis, his potency and 
his personality as a whole with his father and brothers. It 
might have been assumed that these actions pointed to a 
normal and active heterosexual attitude in him. But his 
markedly apprehensive and unboyish nature gave quite a 
contrary impression ; 2 and as the analysis proceeded the 

1 In older children inhibitions in learning and in active games must be 
similarly reduced. 

1 Kurt's passive attitude had been strengthened by the fact that he was the 
vountrest bv manv vears of a number of brothers. He was therefore in many 


truth of this impression was confirmed. His games repre- 
senting his rivalry with his father for the possession of his 
mother were very soon interrupted by the onset of severe 
anxiety. It appeared that he had developed a predominantly 
passive homosexual attitude but, owing to anxiety, could 
not maintain this attitude either and had therefore found 
refuge in megalomaniac phantasies. On this unrealistic 
basis he could thrust in the foreground and exaggerate 
both to himself and others a portion of the active and 
masculine tendencies which still remained alive in him. 

I have often referred to the fact that children's play, like 
dreams, has a fafade and that we can only discover its 
latent content by means of a thorough analysis, in the same 
way as we discover the latent content of dreams. But since 
play, owing to its closer relation to reality and its para- 
mount position as a vehicle for the expression of phantasies, 
undergoes a stronger secondary elaboration, it is only very 
gradually, by observing the successive changes that take 
place in the games of children, that we can get to know 
the various currents of thought and feeling which flow 
beneath them. 

We have seen that in Kurt the active masculine attitude 
which he exhibited in his first games in analysis was for the 
most part only a pretence and that it was soon broken off by 
the appearance of severe anxiety. This marked the beginning 
of the analysis of his passive homosexual attitude, but it 
was only after a considerable period of treatment (which 
occupied in all about 450 sessions) that the anxiety which 
opposed that attitude was to some degree reduced. When 
this had been accomplished the toy animals which had 
originally represented imaginary allies in his fight against 
his father emerged as children, and his passive feminine 
attitude and the desire for children which arose from it 
now found plainer expression. 1 

ways in the situation of an only child, and he suffered much from comparisons 
with his active elder brothers whose superiority was all the more oppressive 
from their habit of bringing it home to him. 

1 In my paper, 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict 1 (1928), I have discussed 
the earliest foundation of the feminine position in the male child and have tried 


Analysis of Kurt's fear of the 'mother with a penis* and 
of his excessive terror of his father 1 had the effect of in- 
creasing and once more bringing to the fore his active 
heterosexual position. He was able to give a more sustained 
expression in his play to his feelings of rivalry with his 
father. He once more took up the games he had played at 
the beginning of his analysis but this time he played them 
more steadily and imaginatively. He would, for instance, 
take great pains to build up the garages in which the 
motors were housed and was indefatigable in adding fresh 
items towards their perfection ; or he would construct dif- 
ferent kinds of villages and towns for the cars to make 
expeditions to expeditions which symbolized his rivalry 
with his father for the possession of his mother. In the 
pleasure and care he took in making these villages, towns 
and garages he gave expression to his desire to restore 
his mother whom he had attacked in imagination. At the 
same time his attitude to his mother underwent a com- 
plete change in real life. As his anxiety and sense of guilt 
lessened and he became more capable of entertaining re- 
active tendencies, he began to have a much more affec- 
tionate attitude towards her. 

The gradual strengthening of his heterosexual im- 
pulses was registered in numerous alterations that he made 
in his play. At first the separate details of it showed that 
here, too, his pregenital fixations still predominated or 
rather continually alternated with his genital fixations. 
For instance, the load which the train brought to the town 
or the van delivered at the house often symbolized excre- 
ments ; and in that case it would be delivered at the back 
door. The fact that these games represented a violent kind 
of anal coitus with his mother appeared, among other 

to show that his femininity complex undergoes a very early modification and 
becomes buried beneath the castration complex, to which it makes certain 
contributions. It is for this reason that the boy often very speedily relinquishes 
such games as playing with dolls, which correspond to his feminine components, 
and goes over to games which lay exaggerated emphasis on his masculinity. 

1 In this case also the aggressive feelings he had in regard to coitus between 
his parents proved to be the deepest motive force of his anxiety; and the 'woman 
with a penis* meant the mother who had incorporated his father's penis. 


things, from the fact that in unloading, say, coal from a 
van, the garden or house would often be damaged, the 
people in the house get angry and his game soon be stopped 
by his own anxiety. 

The conveying of loads of different kinds occupied, with 
its wealth of detail, the whole of one part of Kurt's an- 
alysis. 1 Sometimes it would be vans fetching goods from 
the market or taking them there, sometimes people going 
on a long journey with all their possessions, in which case 
his further play-associations would show that what was 
being represented was a flight and that the articles were 
things that had been seized or stolen from his mother's 
body. The variations in minor points were most instruc- 
tive. For instance, Kurt expressed the supremacy of his 
anal-sadistic phantasies by delivering his goods at the 
back entrance. 2 A little later on he did the same thing, 
but this time on the ground that he had to avoid the front 
entrance. From his associations to the front garden (the 
female genitals) it appeared that his fixation on the anus 
was reinforced by his dislike of the female genitals, a 
dislike that was based on a fear of them which had many 
determinants, one important one being a phantasy of 
meeting his father's penis while he was copulating with 
his mother. 

This fear, which often has an inhibiting effect, can 
also act as a stimulus to the development of certain sexual 
phantasies. The boy's attempt to retain his heterosexual 
impulses, in spite of his fear of his father's penis and his 
flight from it, can also lead to peculiarities in his sexual life 
in adult years. A typical boy's phantasy of this kind and 
one which Kurt brought out, too is of copulating with 
his mother jointly with his father or in turns with him. In 

1 This is, incidentally, a typical game among children. 

1 In this description I have only selected on* or two of the play phantasies 
involved in order to illustrate by their development the development of play 
phantasies in general. The material here brought forward was supported by a 
number of representations of various kinds. Thus, for example, the carts that 
carried goods to the town took a road which was shown by various details to have 
the significance of t{*e anus. 


this, combined genital and pregenital phantasies or pre- 
dominantly genital ones alone may be engaged. In Kurt's 
games, for instance, two toy men or two carts would drive 
through one entrance of a building which represented his 
mothers body (another entrance being her anus). These 
two toy men would often agree to enter together or in 
turn; or else one of them would overpower or outwit 
the other. In this struggle the smaller man Kurt him- 
self would gain the victory over the bigger one his 
father by turning himself into a giant. But soon after, a 
reaction of anxiety would set in and he would take flight 
in various ways, one of them being that he would use the 
other entrance, the back one, and give up the front one to 
the father figure. This example shows how the child's fear 
of castration impedes the establishment of his genital stage 
and strengthens his fixation, or rather regression, to pre- 
genital stages. But the immediate result is not always a 
regression to the pregenital stage. If the child's anxiety is 
not too strong he can have recourse to many kinds of 
phantasies belonging to the genital level besides the ones 
that have been mentioned here. 

What, as a child, the individual shows us in these play 
phantasies will emerge in him in manhood as a necessary 
condition of his love life. Kurt's phantasies of the two toy 
men entering a building from different sides or using the 
same side, either together or alternately, either after a 
fight or by agreement, display the various ways in which 
an individual will actually behave in a 'triangular' situation 
in which he is the third party. In such a situation he may, 
for instance, take the line of the 'injured third party' or of 
the family friend who outwits the husband or fights him, 
and so on. Another effect of anxiety, on the other hand, 
may be to diminish the frequency of games of this sort 
representing coitus, and this effect will come out in later 
life in the diminished or disturbed potency of the indi- 
vidual in question. To what extent he will be able to 
live out the sexual phantasies of his childhood in later 
life will depend on other factors in his development as well, 


in especial his experiences in reality. But fundamentally, 
the conditions under which he can love are foreshadowed in 
every particular in the play phantasies of his early years. 

These phantasies, by the way in which they evolve, show 
that as the child's sexual impulses advance to the genital 
level his capacity for sublimation develops too, and that 
sublimation and sexuality are interlinked. Kurt, for in- 
stance, made a house that was to be all his own. The house 
was his mother of whom he wanted to have sole possession. 
At the same time he could never do enough in the way of 
planning his house well and making it beautiful. 

Play phantasies of this kind already outline the detach- 
ment from his love-objects that the child will effect later 
on* A small patient of mine used to represent his mother's 
body by means of maps. At first he wanted to have larger 
and larger sheets of paper so as to make the maps as large 
as possible; then, after his game had been interrupted by 
an anxiety-reaction, he began to do the opposite and make 
very small maps. His attempt to depict by the smallness of 
the things he drew a dissimilarity and detachment from his 
original large object his mother failed, and his maps 
got bigger and bigger again until at last they reached their 
original size and he was once more interrupted in his draw- 
ing by anxiety. He brought out the same idea in the paper 
dolls which he cut out. The small doll, which he always 
ended by discarding in favour of a larger one, turned out 
to be a small girl friend of his whom he was trying to make 
his love-object instead of his mother. Thus we see that 
even the individual's capacity for libidinal detachment from 
his objects at puberty has its roots in early years and that 
analysis of the small child is of great assistance in facilitat- 
ing this process. 

As his analysis goes forward the boy becomes increas- 
ingly able to carry out in games and sublimations the hetero- 
sexual phantasies in which he dares to fight his father for 
the possession of his mother. His pregenital fixations 
diminish and the struggle itself changes greatly in char- 
acter. His sadism decreases, so that his part in the fight is 


less arduous since it arouses less anxiety and guilt in him. 
Thus his increased ability to carry out his phantasies in 
games calmly and uninterruptedly and to introduce the 
element of reality into them more satisfactorily is an indi- 
cation that he possesses the foundations of sexual potency 
in later life. These changes in the character of his phan- 
tasies and games are always accompanied by other im- 
portant changes in his whole personality and make him 
more free and active in his behaviour, as is seen from the re- 
moval of numerous inhibitions in him and from his changed 
attitude both to his immediate and his more distant en- 

Let us now turn to our second illustration of the way 
: n which play phantasies throw light upon a child's later 
sexual life. Rita, aged two and three-quarters, was severely 
inhibited in play. The only thing she would do and that 
only very unwillingly and with obvious inhibitions was 
to play with her dolls and toy animals. Even this occupa- 
tion was more like an obsessional symptom, for it con- 
sisted almost entirely in washing her dolls and continually 
changing their clothes in a compulsive way. As soon as she 
introduced any imaginative element into these activities, 
that is, as soon as she began to play in any sense of the 
word, she had an immediate outbreak of anxiety and stopped 
the game. 1 Analysis showed that her feminine and mater- 
nal attitude was very poorly developed. In her play with 
-her doll she only to a very slight degree played the part of 
mother. Her relation to it was mainly one of identification. 
In this identification her own acute fear of being dirty or 
destroyed inside or wicked urged her to keep on cleaning 
her doll and changing its clothes. Only after her castration 
complex had been in part analysed did it transpire that 
her obsessional play with her doll at the very beginning of 
the analysis had already given expression to her deepest 
anxiety, namely, her fear that her mother would take her 
children away from her. 

1 In Chapters I. and II. I have referred in another connection to the deeper 
causes of Rita's anxiety and the repression of her phantasies. 



At the time when her castration complex was in the fore- 
ground, Rita made a toy bear represent the penis which she 
had stolen from her father l and with the help of which she 
wanted to supplant her father in the possession of her 
mother's love. In this part of her analysis she would have 
anxiety in connection with masculine phantasies of this 
kind. It was not until her deeper-lying anxiety belonging 
to the feminine and maternal attitude had been analysed 
that her attitude really changed and she showed a genu- 
inely maternal attitude towards her bear and her doll. 
While she was kissing the bear and hugging it and calling 
it pet names Rita once said: 'Now Fm not a bit unhappy* 
any more because IVe got such a dear little child after 
air. That she had now attained the stage in which genital 
tendencies, heterosexual impulses and a maternal attitude 
were paramount was obvious from many indications, among 
others from her changed behaviour towards her objects. 
Her aversion to her father, which had before been so 
marked, gave place to affection for him. 3 

The reason why we can foretell from the character and 
development of play phantasies in children what their 
sexual life will be in later years is because the whole of 
their play and sublimations is based on masturbation 
phantasies. If, as I think, their games are a means of 
expressing their masturbation phantasies and finding an 
outlet for them, it follows that the character of their play 
phantasies will indicate the character of their sexual life in 
adult years; 4 and it also follows that child analysis is able 

1 Rita used to pretend that she had got rid of the guard of the train and that 
she was now travelling with the bear to the house of a *good' woman where she 
would be well looked after. But the guard came back and threatened her. This 
showed that her fear of her father, whose penis (the bear) she had stolen, pre- 
vented her from maintaining her identification with him. 

* Rita suffered from periods of severe depression during which she some- 
times brought to light quite extraordinarily strong feelings of guilt, and at 
others sat by herself and cried. When asked why she was crying she would answer: 
'Because I'm so unhappy'j and when asked why she was unhappy she would 
answer: 'Because I'm crying*. 

s Cf. Chapter II. 

4 In his course of lectures, 'On the Technique of Psycho-Analysis', delivered 
in Berlin in 1923, Hanns Sachs mentioned the evolution of masturbation phan- 


not only to bring about a greater stability and capacity for 
sublimation in childhood but to ensure mental well-being 
and prospects of happiness in maturity. 

tasies from the anal-sadistic to the genital stage as one of the criteria which, 
in the analysis of an obsessional case, indicate that the treatment has been 


ONE of the important achievements of psycho-ana- 
lysis is the discovery that children possess a sexual 
life which finds utterance both in direct sexual 
activities and in sexual phantasies. 

We know that masturbation occurs in general in the 
sucking stage and that it is very commonly prolonged, in 
a greater or less measure, right up to the latency period. 
(I need hardly say that we do not expect to find children, 
even small ones, masturbating openly.) In the period before 
puberty and particularly during puberty itself, masturba- 
tion becomes very frequent again. The period in which the 
child's sexual activities are least pronounced is the latency 
period. This is because the decline of the Oedipus complex 
is accompanied by a diminution in the force of instinctual 
trends. On the other hand, there is the still unexplained 
fact that it is at that very period that the child's struggle 
against masturbation is at its height. In his Hemmung^ 
Symptom und Angst (1926), Freud says (S. 55) that during 
the latency period the energies of the child seem to be 
mainly taken up with the task of resisting the temptation 
to masturbate. His statement seems to support the view 
that even during the latency period the pressure of the id 
has not diminished to the extent commonly supposed, or 
else that the force exerted by the child's sense of guilt 
against its id-tendencies has increased. 

In my opinion, the excessive sense of guilt which mas- 
turbatory activities arouse in children is really aimed at 



the destructive tendencies residing in the phantasies that 
accompany masturbation. 1 It is this sense of guilt which 
urges children to stop masturbating altogether and which, 
if it has been successful in doing so, often leads them on 
to a phobia of touching. That a fear of this kind is as im- 
portant an indication of a disturbance in development as 
obsessive masturbation is perfectly evident from analyses 
of adults, where we see how the patient's fear of mastur- 
bation often leads to grave disorders of his sexual life. 
Disturbances of this kind cannot, of course, actually be 
seen in the child, since they only emerge in later life in 
the form of impotence or frigidity according to the sex 
of the individual ; but their existence can be inferred from 
the presence of certain other difficulties which are in- 
variable concomitants of a faulty sexual development. 

Analyses of touching-phobias show that a too complete 
suppression of masturbation not only results in the appear- 
ance of all kinds of symptoms, such as tic, 2 but, by causing 
an excessive repression of masturbation phantasies, puts a 
grave obstacle in the way of the latency period in respect 
of the formation of sublimations a function which is 
of paramount importance from the cultural point of view. 3 
For masturbation phantasies are not only the basis of all 
the child's play activities but a constituent of all its later 
sublimations. When these repressed phantasies are set free 
in analysis the small child can be seen to begin to play 
and the older one to learn and to develop sublimations 
and interests of every kind; while at the same time, if it 
has been suffering from a phobia of touching, it will 
start masturbating again. Conversely, in cases of ob- 
sessive masturbation the curing of that compulsion 4 will 
go hand in hand, among other things, with a greater 

* Cf. Chapter VIII. 

1 Cf. Ferenczi, 'Psycho-Analytical Observations on Tic* (1919). 

8 In my paper, *Zur Genese des Tic* (1925), I have described a case of tic 
during the analysis of which the patient at one and the same time gradually 
became freed of his symptom, resumed his long-forbidden practice of masturba- 
tion, and built up a number of sublimations. 

* It nearly always happens that analysis of touching-phobias leads the patient 
through a temporary phase of obsessive masturbation, and *ince 'versa. Another 


capacity for sublimation. In this case, however, as has been 
shown in detail elsewhere, 1 the child will continue to mas- 
turbate, though in a more moderate degree and not ob- 
sessively. Thus, as regards capacity for sublimation and 
masturbatory activity, analysis of obsessive masturbation 
and analysis of phobias of touching lead to the same 

It would seem, then, that the decline of the Oedipus 
conflict normally ushers in a period in which the child's 
sexual desires are diminished though by no means entirely 
lost; and that a moderate amount of masturbation of a 
non-obsessive kind is a normal occurrence in every stage 
of its life. 

The factors underlying obsessive masturbation are 
operative in yet another form of infantile sexual activity. 
As I have repeatedly said, in my experience it is the 
regular thing for quite young children to enter into sexual 
relations with one another. Moreover, analyses of children 
in the latency and puberty period have shown that mutual 
activities of this kind have been prolonged into and be- 
yond the latency period or have been sporadically resumed 
during that time. The same factors were found to be opera- 
tive in the main in every instance. The following two cases, 
in which I was able to analyse both partners in the relation- 
ship, will illustrate a situation of this kind. 

The first case concerns two brothers, Franz and Giin- 
ther, aged five and six respectively. They had been brought 
up in poor but not unfavourable family circumstances. 
Their parents got on well together; and although the 
mother had to do all the housework herself she took an 
active and enlightened interest in her sons. She sent Gun- 
ther to be analysed on account of his unusually inhibited 
and timid character and his obvious want of contact with 
reality. He was a secretive and extremely distrustful child, 

factor In obsessive masturbation is the patient's desire, based on his sense of 
guilt, to display his habit to the people about him. This also holds good for 
children of every age who masturbate openly and to all appearance in an un- 
inhibited manner, 
i Cf. Chapter III. 


apparently debarred from any genuine feelings of affec- 
tion. Franz, on the other hand, was aggressive, over- 
excitable and difficult to manage. The brothers got on 
very badly together, but on the whole Gunther seemed 
to give way to his younger brother. 1 Analysis was able to 
trace back their mutual sexual acts as far as the ages of 
about three and a half and two and a half respectively, 2 
but it is quite probable that they had begun even earlier. 
It appeared that whereas neither had any conscious sense 
of guilt whatever about these acts (though careful to con- 
ceal them), both suffered from a very heavy one in the 
unconscious. To the elder brother, who had seduced the 
younger and sometimes forced him to perform them, the 
acts which comprised fellatio^ mutual masturbation and 
touching the anus with the fingers were equivalent to 
castrating his brother (fellatio meant biting off his penis) 
and totally destroying his whole body by cutting and tear- 
ing him to pieces, poisoning or burning him, and so on. 
An analysis of the phantasies accompanying the acts 
showed that they not only represented destructive on- 
slaughts upon his younger brother but that the latter stood 
for Gunther's father and mother joined in sexual inter- 
course. Thus his behaviour was in a sense an actual enact- 
ment, though in a mitigated form, of his sadistic mastur- 
batory phantasies against his parents. 3 Moreover, in doing 
these things, sometimes by force, to his younger brother, 
he was trying to assure himself that he would come out best 

1 Analysis revealed the presence of strong psychotic traits in both boys. But 
we are solely concerned here with the analysis of their sexual relations. 

* At that time their mother had noticed one or two occurrences of this 

* Cf. my paper, 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928). In their total 
lack of any reaction-formations as well as in many other respects, these phantasies 
resembled the actions of criminals of a sadistic type. Gunther felt no remorse 
or sorrow, but only fear of retaliation. But this fear was a constant incentive to 
him to repeat his sexual activities. Owing to the extremely abnormal character 
of the elder boy, in whom the destructive instincts so greatly predominated over 
the libidinal ones that his sexual behaviour had the value of criminal actions 
(and we must not forget that among adult criminals perverse sexual acts often 
go along with criminal ones), his fear of retaliation, as we have seen, urged him 
to put his object out of the way. Every time Gunther did violence to his brother 
he received assurance that he himself was not the victim. 


in his dangerous fight with his father and with his mother 
too. His overwhelming fear of his parents increased his im- 
pulse to destroy them ; and his consequent imaginary attacks 
on them added to that fear. 1 Furthermore, his fear that his 
brother might betray him intensified his hatred of him and 
his desire to kill him by means of his practices with him. 

Accordingly the sexual life of this boy, in whom an 
enormous amount of sadism was present, was almost en- 
tirely lacking in positive elements. In his mind the various 
sexual procedures he undertook were nothing but a series 
of cruel and subtle tortures, designed in the end to put 
his object to death. His relations with his brother were 
continually arousing his anxiety along these lines, and 
went to increase those difficulties which had led to a com- 
pletely abnormal psycho-sexual development in him. 

As to the younger brother, Franz, his unconscious had 
completely fathomed the unconscious meaning of the 
practices, and accordingly his terror of being castrated and 
killed by his elder brother had been heightened to an ex- 
aggerated degree. Yet he had never complained to anyone 
nor in any way allowed their relations to transpire. He re- 
acted to these activities which terrified him so much with a 
severe masochistic fixation and with a sense of guilt although 
he was the one who had been seduced* The following are 
some of the reasons for this attitude : 

In his sadistic phantasies Franz identified himself with 
the brother who was doing him violence, and in this way 
obtained gratification of his sadistic tendencies, such ten- 
dencies being, as we know, one of the sources of masochism. 
But in thus identifying himself with the object of his fear 
he was also attempting to master his anxiety. In imagina- 
tion he was now the assailant and the enemy he was over- 
powering was his id 2 and also his brother's penis, internal- 
ized in himself, which represented his father's penis his 
dangerous super-ego and which he viewed as a perse- 

1 In his book, Der Schrecken (1929), Reik has pointed out that anxiety in- 
creases feelings of hatred. 

* Cf. my paper, 'Personification in the Play of Children* (1929)? in which 
these mechanisms are discussed at greater length. 


cutor. This internal persecutor would be destroyed by the 
attacks that were being made on his own body. 1 

But since the boy could not maintain this alliance with 
a cruel external super-ego against his id and his internal- 
ized objects, because it constituted too great a menace to 
his ego, his hatred was continually being diverted to his 
external objects which represented his own feeble and 
hated ego as well so that he would, for instance, some- 
times be brutal to children younger and weaker than him- 
self. These displacements accounted for the hatred and 
rage which he showed at times during his analytic hour* 
He would, for instance, threaten me with a wooden spoon, 
wanting to push it into my mouth and calling me small, 
stupid and weak. The spoon symbolized his brother *s penis 
being forcibly thrust into his own mouth. He had identi- 
fied himself with his brother and thus turned his hatred 
of him against his own self. And he had passed on his rage 
against himself for being small and weak to other children 
less strong than him, and, incidentally, to me in the trans- 
ference-situation. Alternately with the employment of this 
mechanism, he used in imagination to reverse his relations 
with his elder brother so that he would view Giinther's 
attacks on him as something that he, Franz, was doing to 
Giinther. But since for him, too, his brother also had the 
significance of his parents in his sadistic phantasies, he was 
put in the position of being his brother's accomplice in a 
joint attack on them, and consequently shared Giinther's 
unconscious sense of guilt and fear of being found out 
by them. He had thus, like his brother, a strong uncon- 
scious motive for keeping the whole relationship secret. 

A number of observations of this kind have led me to 
the conclusion that it is the excessive pressure exerted by 
the super-ego which not only causes the complete sup- 

1 In Chapter XI. we shall go more fully into this particular mechanism, 
which seems to me a fundamental one in the formation of feminine masochism. 
In her paper, 'Psychotic Mechanisms in Cultural Development* (1930), Melitta 
Schmideberg has pointed out that among primitive people the practice of 
expulsion of disease by violence aims at overcoming the patient's fear of the 
demon within him (his father's introjected penis). 


pression of sexual activities, as we already know, but which 
actually arouses the compulsion to indulge in such activi- 
ties that is to say, that anxiety and a sense of guilt re- 
inforce libidinal fixations and heighten libidinal desires. 1 
As far as I can see, an excessive sense of guilt and too great 
anxiety act in the direction of preventing the child's in- 
stinctual needs from diminishing when the latency period 
sets in* And we must not forget that in that period even 
a much lessened sexual activity calls forth excessive re- 
actions of guilt. The structure and dimensions of the 
child's neurosis will determine how the struggle in the 
latency period will fall out. As the final upshot a phobia of 
touching on the one hand and obsessive masturbation on 
the other are the two extremes of a complemental series 
that presents an almost infinite number of possible grada- 
tions and variations. 

In the case of Gtinther and Franz it became clear that 
their compulsion to have sexual intercourse with one an- 
other was determined by a factor which would seem to be 
of general significance for the repetition-compulsion. When 
his anxiety concerns an unreal danger directed towards the 
inside of his body, the individual is impelled to turn that 
danger into a real and external one. (In the present instance 
Franz's fear of his brother's internalized penis as a perse- 
cutor and his fear of his 'bad' internalized parents urged 
him to let himself be assaulted by his brother.) He will 
continually be bringing about an external danger-situation 
of this kind in a compulsive way since the anxiety it 
arouses in him, however great it may be, is nevertheless 
not so great as the anxiety he feels about the inside of his 
body and can in any case be better dealt with. 2 

As it happened, it would have been impossible to put a 

1 On this point, which is dealt with in greater detail in Chapter VIII., I 
find myself in agreement with Reik, who, in his 'Libido und Schuldgefiihl* 
(1929), has pointed out that in certain instances activation of the sense of guilt 
can bring about a strengthening of the libido and an enlargement of instinctual 
gratification, and: that in these cases an increase of anxiety coming from a bad 
conscience can actually produce instinctual gratification. 

* M. N. Searl has pointed out the mechanism of flight into reality in her 
paper, 'The Flight to Reality' (1929). 


stop to the brothers' sexual relations by external measures, 
since their home was not big enough for each to have a 
bedroom of his own. And even if such a measure had been 
practicable it would have failed, I think, especially in a 
case like this where the compulsion on both sides was so 
strong. Left alone together for only a few minutes in the 
day, they would often find time to start some kind of mutual 
sexual touching which had the same significance for their 
unconscious as the complete performance of their various 
sadistically imagined acts. It was only after a long analysis 
of both boys, during which I never once tried to influence 
them to give up their practices 1 but confined myself to 
bringing to light the determining cause of their sexual re- 
lations to each other in a purely analytic way, that their 
sexual activities gradually began to change, becoming at 
first less compulsive in character and finally ceasing alto- 
gether not because the two had grown indifferent about 
them, but because now that their sense of guilt was less 
acute and less insusceptible to modification it became 
the very factor which urged them to renounce those prac- 
tices; so that, whereas too much anxiety and a sense of 
guilt originating in an early stage of development had been 
responsible for their compulsion by reinforcing their fixa- 
tion, a decreased sense of guilt operating in a different way 
enabled them to give up those relations. Hand in hand with 
the gradual alteration and cessation of their sexual practices 
their personal attitude towards each other underwent a con- 
siderable change. From having been visibly ill-disposed 
and hostile they began to entertain a quite normal relation 
of friendship and goodwill towards each other. 

Coming to the second case, we find that it exhibits the 

1 I may remark that in this particular case, where the evil consequences of 
the boys* relations were so striking, I did not find it at all easy to keep to my 
absolute rule of abstaining from any interference of that kind. And yet it was 
precisely this case which brought me most convincing proof of the uselessness 
of any educational measures on the part of the analyst. Even if I had been able 
to stop their practices which I was not I should have done nothing towards 
the essential business of removing the underlying determinants of the situation 
and thus giving a new direction to the whole course of their hitherto faulty 


same deep-seated causes as the one we have just described, 
although, of course, it differs in certain details, A short 
account of it will therefore suffice. Use, aged twelve, and 
Gert, aged thirteen and a half, used to indulge from time 
to time in coitus-like acts which happened quite suddenly, 
and often after long intervals. The girl showed no con- 
scious sense of guilt about them but the boy, who was 
much more normal, did. Their analysis showed that they 
had had sexual relations with each other from earliest child- 
hood and had only temporarily broken them off at the 
beginning of the latency period; for both suffered from an 
overpowering sense of guilt which obliged them to repeat 
their acts from time to time in a compulsive manner. These 
acts had nevertheless not only become more rare in their 
incidence but more limited in their scope during that 
period. 1 The children had given ^fellatio and cunnilinctus 
and for some time had not gone beyond touching and in- 
specting each other's genitals. During pre-puberty, how- 
ever, they began having coitus-like contact once more. It 
was the brother who initiated these acts and they were 
compulsive in character. He used to do them on a sudden 
impulse and never thought about them before or after. He 
even used to 'forget' the event altogether in between whiles, 
He had a partial amnesia of this kind for a number of 
things connected with these sexual relations, especially in 
regard to his early childhood. As far as the girl was con- 
cerned, she had often been the active partner in early child- 
hood but later on she had only played a passive role. 

As its profounder causes began to emerge under analysis 
the compulsive behaviour of brother and sister gradually 

1 In other instances, too, in which intercourse of this kind has been prolonged 
into the ktency period, it has been the writer's experience that only a portion 
of the original acts is continued (fellatio and cunnilinctus being most often given 
up) and that even that remnant is performed more seldom usually only quite 
occasionally. Nevertheless, it carries with it, as far as the child's unconscious sense 
of guilt goes, the complete psychological content of the original sexual relations 
and all the acts performed at that time. For instance, after an attempt to have 
coitus with her brother, Ilse developed a rash round her mouth. This rash was 
an expression of her sense of guilt about fellatio, which she used to practise as a 
small child together with other sexual acts, but which she had given up since 
early childhobd. 


cleared away, until in the end the sexual relation between 
them stopped entirely, as it had in the case of Franz and 
Gunther. And similarly their personal relations, which 
had been very unsatisfactory before, showed a remarkable 

In the analysis of these two cases and others like them 
we find that step by step with the recession of the com- 
pulsive character of the acts a number of important and 
interconnected changes take place. The decrease of the 
child's sense of guilt is accompanied by a decrease of 
sadism and a stronger emergence of the genital phase; and 
these changes are evinced in corresponding changes in its 
masturbation phantasies and, if it is still quite young, in 
the phantasies it introduces into its play. 

In analyses of children at the age of puberty we find^a 
further and quite special alteration taking place in their 
masturbation phantasies. For instance, Gert had at first no 
conscious masturbation phantasies at all ; but in the course 
of his treatment he began to have one about a naked girl 
whose headless body alone was visible. At a later stage the 
head began to appear and grew more and more distinct till 
at last it became recognizable as that of his sister. By the 
time this happened, however, his compulsion was already 
gone and his sexual relations with his sister had quite 
stopped. This shows the connection there was between the 
excessive repression of his desires and phantasies in regard 
to his sister and his obsessive impulse to have sexual 
relations with her. Later on still his phantasies underwent^ 
further change and he saw other, unknown girls, in his 
imagination. Finally he had phantasies about one in especial, 
a friend of his sister's. This gradual alteration registered 
the process of libidinal detachment from his sister that was 
going on a process which could not take place until his 
compulsive fixation on her, maintained by his excessive 
sense of guilt, had been removed in the course of analysis, 1 

1 Gert came to me on account of certain neurotic difficulties of a not very- 
severe kind. His analysis lasted one year. Three years later I h^ard that he was 
going on well. 


In general, as regards the existence of sexual relations 
between children, especially between brothers and sisters, 
I may say on the basis of my observations that they are the 
rule in early childhood but are only prolonged into the 
latency period and puberty if the child's sense of guilt 
is excessive and has not been successfully modified. 1 As 
far as we can judge, the effect of the sense of guilt during 
the latency period is to allow the child to continue to 
masturbate, though in a lesser degree than before, but 
at the same time to make it give up its sexual activities 
with other children, whether its own brothers and sisters 
or not, as being too realistic an enactment of its incestuous 
and sadistic desires. During puberty the movement away 
from such relations is continued, in conformity with the 
aims of that period which involve a detachment of the 
libido from incestuous objects. But at a later stage of 
puberty the individual will, under normal circumstances, 
enter into sexual relations with new objects a relation- 
ship based on his progressive libidinal detachment from the 
old objects and sustained by different, contra-incestuous 
currents of feeling. 

We must now consider how far relations of this kind can 
be prevented from occurring in the first instance. It seems 
highly doubtful whether it is possible to do this without 
causing a good deal of harm in other ways, since, for in- 
stance, the children would have to be kept under regular 
surveillance and would suffer a serious curtailment of 
liberty; and whether in any case, however strictly they 
were watched, it could be done at all. Furthermore, 
although early experiences like these can do a lot of 
mischief in some cases, in others their effect upon the 
child's general development can be a favourable one. 
For besides gratifying the child's libido and his desire 
for sexual knowledge, relations of this kind serve the 
important function of diminishing his excessive sense 
of guilt, and for this reason: the phantasies the child 

1 In any case I think that such relations are much more frequent even during 
latency and puberty than is usually supposed. 


introduces into these relations are based, as we know, upon 
sadistic masturbation phantasies round which are centred 
his most intense feelings of guilt; therefore the knowledge 
that his forbidden phantasies against his parents are shared 
by another gives him the feeling of having an accomplice 
and this greatly lightens the burden of his anxiety. 1 On the 
other hand a relation of this kind gives rise to anxiety and a 
sense of guilt on its own account. Whether its effect will 
ultimately be good or bad whether it will protect the 
child from anxiety or increase it seems to depend upon 
the quantity of sadism present in him and more especially 
upon the attitude of his partner. From my knowledge of a 
number of cases, I should say that where the positive and 
libidinal factors predominate, such a relationship has a 
favourable influence upon the child's object relations and 
capacity for love; 2 but where, as with Gtinther and Franz, 
destructive impulses, on one side at any rate, and acts 
of coercion dominate it, it is able to impair the whole 
development of the child in the gravest way. 

In the matter of the sexual activities of children, psycho- 
analytic knowledge, while showing us the full import of 
certain developmental factors, has once again not yet en- 
abled us to suggest any really reliable measures of a pro- 
phylactic kind. Let me quote a passage from Freud; 3 

'This state of things has a certain interest for those look- 
ing to pedagogy for the prevention of neuroses by early 
intervention in the matter of the child's sexual develop- 
ment. As long as attention is mainly directed to the in- 
fantile sexual experiences one would think everything in 
the way of prophylaxis of later neurosis could be done by 
ensuring that this development should be retarded and the 
child secured against this kind of experience. But we know 
that the conditions causing neurosis are more complicated 
than this and that they cannot be influenced in a general 

1 In his book, Gemeinsame Tagtraume (1924), Harms Sachs remarks upon the 
fact that when incestuous phantasies or day-dreams are shared the sense of guilt 
is lessened. 

1 Cf. Chapters XL and XII. for a fuller consideration of these factors. 

3 Introductory Lectures on Psycho- Analysis (1918), p. 305. 


way by attending to one factor only. Strict supervision in 
childhood loses value because it is helpless against the con- 
stitutional factor; more than this, it is less easy to carry out 
than specialists in education imagine; and it entails two 
new risks which are not to be lightly disregarded. It may 
accomplish too much, in that it favours an exaggerated de- 
gree of sexual repression which is harmful in its effects, 
and it sends the child into life without power to resist the 
urgent demands of his sexuality that must be expected at 
puberty. It therefore remains most doubtful how far pro- 
phylaxis in childhood cati go with ad r . ntage, and whether 
a changed attitude to actuality wouid not constitute a 
better point of departure for attempts to forestall the 








IN the following chapters I shall attempt to add some- 
thing to our knowledge of the origin and structure of 
the super-ego. The theoretical conclusions I am going 
to put forward have been obtained from a direct acquaint- 
ance with the earliest processes of mental development, 
since they are based on actual analyses of small children. 
These analyses have shown that the oral frustrations which 
children undergo release the Oedipus impulses in them 
and that the super-ego begins to be formed at the same 
time. The genital impulses remain out of sight at first since 
they do not as a rule assert themselves against the pre- 
genital impulses until the third year of life. At that period 
they begin to emerge into clear view and the child enters 
a phase in which its early sexual life comes to a climax 
and its Oedipus conflict attains full development. 

In the following pages I shall outline the developmental 
processes which precede this early expansion of sexuality 
and try to show that the early stages of the Oedipus con- 
flict and of the formation of the super-ego extend, roughly, 
from the middle of the first year to the third year of the 
child's life. 1 

Normally the infant's pleasure in sucking is succeeded 
by pleasure in biting. Lack of gratification at the oral- 
sucking stage Increases its need for gratification at the 

1 Cf, my paper, *EarIy Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928). 


oral-biting stage. 1 Abraham's opinion that the child's in- 
ability to get sufficient pleasure in its sucking period de- 
pends on the circumstances under which it is fed is com- 
pletely borne out by general analytic observation. We also 
know that the illnesses and developmental deficiencies of 
children are partly due to the same cause. Nevertheless, 
unfavourable conditions of nutrition, which we may regard 
as external frustrations, are not, it seems, the only reason 
why the child gets too little pleasure at the sucking stage. 
This is seen from the fact that some children are incapable 
of obtaining enjoyment from sucking are 'bad feeders' 
although they receive sufficient nourishment. Their in- 
ability to obtain gratification from sucking is, I think, the 
consequence of an internal frustration and is derived, as 
far as my experience goes, from an abnormally increased 
oral sadism. 2 It would seem that the polarity between the 
life-instincts and the death-instincts is already coming out 
in these phenomena of early infancy, for we may regard 
the force of the child's fixation at the oral-sucking level 
as an expression of the force of its libido, and, similarly, 
the early and powerful emergence of its oral sadism as a 
sign of the ascendancy of its destructive instinctual com- 

1 In his *Oral Erotism and Character* (1921) Abraham has pointed out that 
excess of gratification as well as want of it in the sucking period can lead to 
a specially strong fixation on pleasure in biting. In his * Notes on Oral Char- 
acter-Formation' (1925) Edward Glover lays special stress on the importance 
of oral frustration for a fixation of this kind, since he believes that whenever 
an excess of oral gratification leads to traumatic consequences other factors are 
at work as well. In my view, too, the results are essentially different in the 
two cases. 

1 Erna (Chapter III.) was a case in point. She had repeatedly injured her 
mother's breast by biting when she was still quite small and long before she had 
grown her teeth. She had also been a bad feeder in infancy. I have come across 
other instances, too, of abnormally strong oral sadism in which the sucking 
period had brought with it no outward disturbance or difficulty but had in 
reality been completely unsatisfactory for the child. Again, we get cases in which 
serious external disturbances in that period have led, not to an abnormally in- 
tense oral sadism, but to a strong fixation at the oral-sucking stage. Thus Ruth 
(Chapter II.), who had a strong oral-sucking fixation of this kind, had gone 
hungry for months as an infant because her mother had too little milk. Another 
patient, who had never had the breast at all but had been bottle-fed, showed a 
strong oral sadism, it is true, but he also had a strong fixation at the oral- 
sucking stage. 


As Abraham 1 and Ophuijsen have pointed out, a re- 
inforcement from constitutional sources of the zones which 
are involved in biting, such as the muscles of the jaw, is a 
fundamental factor in the infant's fixation at the oral- 
sadistic level. The most serious deficiencies of develop- 
ment and psychic illnesses result where external frustra- 
tions Le. unfavourable conditions of nourishment co- 
incide with a constitutionally strengthened oral sadism 
which impairs the infant's pleasure in sucking. On the other 
hand, an oral sadism which sets in neither too soon nor 
too violently (and this implies that the sucking stage has run 
its course satisfactorily) seems to be a necessary condition 
for the normal development of the child. 2 

If this is the case, temporal factors will take on a new 
importance side by side with quantitative ones. If the 
child's oral-sadistic tendencies are heightened too early 
and violently, its relations to its objects and the formation 
of its character will fall too much under the sway of its 
sadism and ambivalence, 3 and its ego will develop in ad- 
vance of its libido this being, as we know, a factor in 
the production of obsessional neurosis 4 because the 
anxiety arising from such an abrupt increase of its oral 
sadism will exert great pressure on its as yet immature ego. 

Concerning the origin of anxiety, Freud has broadened 
his original conception and now only gives a very limited 
application to the hypothesis that anxiety arises from a 
direct conversion of libido. He shows that when the suck- 
ing infant is hungry it feels anxiety as a result of an in- 
crease of tension caused by its need, but that this early 
anxiety-situation has an earlier prototype. He says: 'The 
situation of being unsatisfied, in which the amount of 
excitation reaches a painful degree . . . must be analogous 

1 Abraham, *A Short Study of the Development of the Libido' (1924), p. 451. 

* Another developmental factor of basic importance is, I have found, the 
greater or lesser capacity of the immature ego to tolerate anxiety. This factor 
will be discussed later on. 

8 Cf. Abraham, 'The Influence of Oral Erotism on Character-Formation* 
(1924); also Edward Glover, *The Significance of the Mouth in Psycho- 
Analysis* (1924). 

4 Cf. Freud, *The Predisposition to Obsessional Neurosis' (1913). 


for the suckling to its experience of birth and must there- 
fore be a repetition of that danger-situation. Both situa- 
tions have in common the economic disturbance brought 
about by the accumulation of stimuli which require to be 
discharged. It is this factor, therefore, which is the true 
core of the "danger", and in both situations a reaction of 
anxiety sets in. . . -* 1 On the other hand, he has difficulty 
in reconciling the fact that 'the anxiety belonging to 
phobias is an ego-anxiety i.e. arises in the ego and does 
not emanate from repression but is itself the cause of re- 
pression' 2 with his first statement that in certain cases 
anxiety arises from a tension of libido. The supposition 
that *in such situations as disturbance during coitus, inter- 
rupted excitement or abstinence, the ego senses dangers 
and reacts to them with anxiety' 3 does not to his mind 
offer a satisfactory solution of the problem; and in a later 
passage he returns from the discussion of other points to 
consider the problem once more, and refers the emerg- 
ence of anxiety *to that danger-situation in which, as at 
birth, . . . the ego finds itself helpless in the face of grow- 
ing instinctual demands, i.e. that situation which is the 
first and original condition for the appearance of anxiety'. 4 
He defines as the nucleus of the danger-situation 'the 
admission of our helplessness against it a physical help- 
lessness if the danger belongs to reality and a psycho- 
logical one if it comes from the instincts'. 5 

The clearest instance of conversion of unsatisfied libido 
into anxiety is, I think, the reaction of the suckling to 
tensions caused by its physical needs. Such a reaction, 
however, is without doubt not only one of anxiety but of 
rage as well. 6 It is difficult to say at what time this fusion 
of the destructive and libidinal instincts occurs. There is 

1 Hcmmung, Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 78. * Ibid. S. 49. 

Ibid. S. 49. * Ibid. S, 86. * Ibid. S. 109. 

Cf. Ferenczi, *The Problem of the Acceptance of Unpleasant Ideas* (1926). 

In his paper, 'The Problem of Melancholia" (1928), Rado has pointed out the 
importance of rage in the reaction of the suckling to hunger, but the inferences 
he has drawn from it are different from those I shall put forward in the following 


a good deal of evidence for the view that it has existed all 
along and that the tension caused by need merely serves 
to strengthen the sadistic instincts of the infant. We 
know, however, that the destructive instinct is directed 
against the organism itself and must therefore be re- 
garded by the ego as a danger. In my view it is this 
danger which is felt by the individual as anxiety. 1 Thus 
anxiety would spring from aggression. 2 But since, as we 
know, libidinal frustration heightens the sadistic instincts, 
ungratified libido would, indirectly, liberate anxiety or in- 
crease it. On this theory Freud's suggestion that the ego 
senses a danger in abstinence would be a solution of the 
problem after alL My only contention is that it is the 
destructive instincts which give rise to that danger which 
he calls 'psychological helplessness in face of instinctual 

Freud tells us that the narcissistic libido of the organism 
deflects the death-instinct outwards in order to prevent it 
from destroying the organism itself, and that this process 
is at the bottom of the individual's relations to his objects 
and underlies the mechanism of projection. He goes on to 
say: 'Another portion* (of the death-instinct) *is not in- 
cluded in this displacement outwards; it remains within 
the organism and is "bound" there libidinally with the 
help of the accompanying sexual excitation mentioned 
above. This portion we must recognize as the original 
erotogenic masochism/ 3 It seems to rne that the ego has 

1 In Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1916), Freud considers that in some cases 
a certain amount of instinctual anxiety which has become released from the 
destructive instinct may enter into reality anxiety. His actual words are: 'It may 
often enough happen that in a situation which the individual is right in regarding 
as one of danger a portion of his instinctual anxiety may become joined to his 
reality anxiety. The instinctual demand of which he is frightened would in that 
case be a masochistic one, i.e. a destructive instinct turned against himself. An 
addition of this kind would perhaps account for the fact that his anxiety reaction 
is excessive, inadequate and hampering in its action' (S. 1 1 r). 

* Since writing this book I find that Therese Benedek, starting from a 
different line of approach, has also come to the conclusion that anxiety originates 
in the destructive instinct. She says: 'Anxiety, therefore, is not a fear of death 
but the perception of the death-instinct that has been liberated in the organism 
the perception of primary masochism* ('Todestrieb und Angst', 1931). 

* 'The Economic Problem in Masochism' (1924). 


yet another means of mastering those destructive impulses 
which still adhere to the organism. It can mobilize one 
part of them as a defence against the other part. In this way 
the id will undergo a division which is, I think, the first 
step in the formation of instinctual inhibitions and of the 
super-ego and which may be the same thing as primal 
repression. 1 We may suppose that a division of this sort is 
rendered possible by the fact that, as soon as the process 
of incorporation has begun, the incorporated object be- 
comes the vehicle of defence against the destructive im- 
pulses within the organism. 2 

The anxiety evoked in the child by his destructive im- 
pulses takes effect, I think, in two ways. In the first place 
it makes him afraid of being exterminated himself by 
those very impulses, i.e. it relates to an internal instinctual 
danger; 3 and in the second place it focuses his fears on 
his external object, against whom his sadistic feelings are 
directed, as a source of danger. This fear of an object seems 
to have its earliest basis in external reality in the child's 

1 In Eemmungj Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 31, Freud writes: *Wc are not 
yet in a position to say whether it may not be the emergence of the super-ego 
which differentiates primal repression from secondary repression. At any rate 
we know that the child's earliest outbreaks of anxiety, which are extremely 
intense, occur before the super-ego has come into beingj and it is not at all un- 
likely that quantitative factors, such as an excessive degree of excitement and the 
breaking through of the barrier against stimuli, are the immediate cause of 
primal repression.* 

* The process by which the object is internalized will be discussed later on. 
At present it is enough to say that, in the writer's opinion, the incorporated 
object at once assumes the functions of a super-ego. 

1 In early analysis we come across numerous representations of this anxiety. 
Here is an example: A five-year-old boy used to pretend that he had all sorts 
of wild animals, such as elephants, leopards, hyenas and wolves, to help him 
against his enemies. Each animal had a special function. The elephants were to 
stamp the foe to a pulp, the leopards to tear him to bits and the hyenas and 
wolves to eat him up. He sometimes imagined that these wild animals who were 
in his service would turn against him, and this idea used to arouse very great 
anxiety in him. It turned out that the animals stood in his unconscious for the 
various sources of his sadism the elephant being his muscular sadism j the animals 
that tore, his teeth and nails; and the wolves,^iis excrements. His fear that those 
dangerous animals which he had tamed would themselves exterminate him was 
referable to his fear of his own sadism as a dangerous internal enemy. Let me 
also remind the reader of the common expression 'to burst with rage*. In my 
analyses of small children I have repeatedly come across representations of the 
idea underlying this figure of speech. 


growing knowledge a knowledge based on the develop- 
ment of his ego and a concomitant power of testing by 
reality of his mother as someone who either gives or with- 
holds gratification, and thus in his growing knowledge of 
the power of his object in relation to the satisfaction of his 
needs. In this connection it would appear that he displaces 
the full burden of his intolerable fear of instinctual dangers 
on to his object, thus exchanging internal dangers for ex- 
ternal ones. From these external dangers his immature ego 
then seeks to protect itself by destroying his object. 

We must now go on to consider in what way a deflection 
of the death-instinct outwards influences the relations of 
the child to his objects and leads to the full expansion of 
his sadism. His growing oral sadism reaches its climax 
during and after weaning and leads to the fullest activation 
and development of sadistic tendencies flowing from every 
source. He has certain oral-sadistic phantasies of a quite 
definite character, seeming to form a link 1 between the 
oral-sucking and oral-biting stages, in which he gets 
possession of the contents of his mother's breast by suck- 
ing and scooping it out. This desire to suck and scoop out, 
first directed to her breast, soon extends to the inside of 
her body. 2 In my article, 'Early Stages of the Oedipus 
Conflict' ( 1 928), I have described an early stage of develop- 
ment which is governed by the child's aggressive tendencies 
against its mother's body and in which its predominant 
wish is to rob her body of its contents and destroy it. 

1 Abraham has drawn attention to the vampire-like behaviour of some people 
and has explained it as being the effect of a regression from the oral-sadistic to 
the oral-sucking stage. (*Oral Erotism and Character*, 1924, p. 401.) 

1 In discussing this subject with me, Edward Glover suggested that the 
feeling of emptiness in its body which the small child experiences as a result of 
lack of oral gratification might be a point of departure for phantasies of assault 
on its mother's body, since it might give rise to phantasies of the mother's body 
being full of all the desired nourishment. Going over my data once more, I 
find that his supposition is completely borne out. It seems to me to throw fresh 
light upon the steps by which the transition is effected from sucking out and 
devouring the mother's breast to attacking the inside of her body. In this con- 
nection Dr. Glover also mentioned Rado's theory of an 'alimentary orgasm' 
("The Psychic Effects of Intoxicants*, I9z6), in virtue of which gratification 
passes over from the mouth to the stomach and intestines. 


As far as can be seen, the sadistic tendency most closely 
allied to oral sadism is urethral sadism. Observation 
has shown that children's phantasies of destroying by 
flooding, drowning, soaking, burning and poisoning by 
means of enormous quantities of urine are a sadistic re- 
action to their having been deprived of fluid by their 
mother and are ultimately directed against her breast. I 
should like in this connection to point out the great im- 
portance, hitherto little recognized, of urethral sadism in 
the development of the child. 1 Phantasies, familiar to 
analysts, of flooding and destroying things by means of 
great quantities of urine, 2 and the more generally known 
connection between playing with fire and bed-wetting, 3 
are merely the more visible and less repressed signs of the 
impulses which are attached to the function of urinating. 
In analysing both grown-up patients and children I have 
constantly come across phantasies in which urine was im- 
agined as a burning, dissolving and corrupting liquid and 
as a secret and insidious poison. These urethral-sadistic 
phantasies have no small share in giving the penis the un- 
conscious significance of an instrument of cruelty and in 
bringing about disturbances of sexual potency in the male. 
In a number of instances I have found that bed-wetting 
was caused by phantasies of this kind. 

Every other vehicle of sadistic attack that the child em- 
ploys, such as anal sadism and muscular sadism, is in the first 
instance levelled against its mother's frustrating breast; 
but it is soon directed to the inside of her body, which 
thus becomes the target of sadistic onslaughts coming 
from every source at once and raised to the highest pitch 

1 In his 'The Narcissistic Evaluation of Excretory Processes* (1920), in con- 
nection with a case of strongly developed urethral sadism, Abraham states that 
in neurotic persons *we find the functions and products of the bowel and bladder 
used as vehicles of hostile impulses* (p. 319). 

1 Cf. in especial Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), and DreiAbkand- 
lungen xur Sexualtheorie (1905); also Sadger, 'Uber Urethralerotik' (1910); 
Abraham, *Ejaculatio Praecox* (1917) and "The Narcissistic Evaluation of 
Excretory Processes* (1920), and Rank, 'Psychoanalytische Beitrage zur 
Mythenforschung* (1919). 

* Cf. Freud's remarks on this connection in his 'Fragment of an Analysis of 
a Case of Hysteria* (1905). 


of intensity. In early analysis these destructive desires of 
the small child constantly alternate between anal-sadistic 
desires, desires to devour its mother's body and desires to 
wet it; but their primal aim of eating up and destroying 
her breast is always discernible in them, 1 

The phase of life in which the child's imaginary sadistic 
attacks against the inside of its mother's body are pre- 
dominant and in which its sadism reaches a maximum 
strength in every source from which it flows is introduced 
by the oral-sadistic stage of development and comes to an 
end with the decline of the earlier anal-sadistic stage. 

Abraham's work has shown that the pleasure the infant 
gets from biting is not only due to libidinal gratification 
of its erotogenic zones but is connected with strongly 
marked destructive cravings which aim at the injury 
or annihilation of its object. This is still more so in the 
phase of maximal sadism. The idea of an infant of from 
six to twelve months trying to destroy its mother by 
every method at the disposal of its sadistic tendencies 
with its teethj nails and excreta and with the whole of its 
body, transformed in imagination into all kinds of danger- 
ous weapons presents a horrifying, not to say an unbe- 
lievable, picture to our minds. And it is difficult, as I know 
from my own experience, to bring oneself to recognize that 
such an abhorrent idea answers to the truth. But the abun- 
dance, force and multiplicity of the imaginary cruelties 

1 In his 'Short Study of the Development of the Libido* (1924), p. 47, 
Abraham has pointed out that criminal phantasies of manic patients are for the 
most part directed against their mother, and he gives a striking example of this 
in a patient who identified himself in his imagination with the Emperor Nero, 
who killed his mother and wanted to burn down Rome (a mother symbol). 
But according to Abraham these destructive impulses of the son against his 
mother are secondary in character, being originally aimed at his father. In my 
view these attacks on her body have their origin in oral-sadistic attacks upon her 
breast and are therefore primary; but in so far as they are reinforced by his 
original hatred of his father's penis as he imagines it to exist inside her body 
and are centred upon that object and culminate in its destruction, they are 
directed against his father to an extent sufficient to influence the whole course 
of his Oedipus conflict. Thus it is true to say that the son's primary hatred of 
his father is in part displaced on to his mother. In Chapter XII. we shall discuss 
in detail the significance of this displacement in the sexual development of the 
male child. 


which accompany these cravings are displayed before our 
eyes in early analyses so clearly and forcibly that they 
leave no room for doubt. We are already familiar with 
those sadistic phantasies of the child which find their 
culmination in cannibalism, and this makes it easier for 
us to accept the further fact that as its methods of sadistic 
attack become enlarged so do its sadistic phantasies gain 
in fulness and vigour. This element of intensification of 
impulse seems to me to be the key to the whole matter. 
If what intensifies sadism is libidinal frustration, we can 
readily understand that the destructive cravings which 
are fused with the libidinal ones and cannot be gratified 
in the first instance, that is, oral-sadistic cravings should 
lead to a further intensification of sadism and to an activa- 
tion of all its methods. 

In early analyses we find, furthermore, that oral frus- 
tration arouses in the child an unconscious knowledge that 
its parents enjoy mutual sexual pleasures and a belief at 
first that these are of an oral sort. Under the pressure of 
its own frustration it reacts to this phantasy with envy of 
its parents, and this in turn gives rise to hatred of them. 
Its cravings to scoop and suck out now lead it to want to 
suck out and devour all the fluids and other substances 
which its parents (or rather their organs) contain, includ- 
ing what they have received from one another in oral copu- 
lation. 1 Freud has shown that the sexual theories of chil- 
dren are a phylogenetic heritage, and from what has been 
said above it appears that an unconscious knowledge of 
this kind about sexual intercourse between the parents, to- 
gether with phantasies concerning it, already emerge at 
this very early stage of development. Oral envy is one of 
the motive forces which make children of both sexes want 

1 In a short communication, *A Paranoic Mechanism as seen in the Analysis 
of a Child' (1928), M. N. Searl has reported a case of intensely oral-sadistic 
phantasies of this kind, in which the child's craving to suck out of its father 
what he had taken from its mother's breast was bound up with paranoic mechan- 
isms. The great power exerted by phantasies of this sort, which are connected 
with an intense oral sadism and which consequently pave the way for particu- 
larly aggressive impulses against the inside of the mother's body, is, I have since 
found, characteristic of psychotic disorders. 


to push their way Into their mother's body and which arouse 
the epistemophilic instinct allied to that desire. 1 Their de- 
structive impulses, however, soon cease to be directed 
against the mother alone and become extended to the 
father. For they imagine that his penis is incorporated by 
her during oral copulation and remains inside her (the 
father being equipped with a great many), so that their 
attacks on her body are also levelled at his penis inside 

I think that the reason why, in the deepest layers of his 
mind, the boy has such a tremendous fear of his mother 
as the castrator and why he harbours the idea, so closely 
associated with that fear, of the 'woman with a penis', is 
that he is afraid of her as a person whose body contains 
his father's penis ; so that, ultimately, what he is afraid of 
is his father's penis incorporated in his mother. 2 The dis- 
placement of feelings of hatred and anxiety from the 
father's penis to the mother's body which harbours it is 
very important, I think, in the aetiology of mental dis- 
orders and is an underlying factor in disturbances of 
sexual development and in the adoption of a homosexual 
attitude in the male individual ; 3 and, in my view, his fear 
of his mother's imaginary penis is an intermediate step in 
this process of displacement. For in this way he modifies 
his greater fear of his father's penis inside her a fear 
which is quite overpowering, because at this early stage 
of development the principle of pars pro toto holds good 
and the penis represents the father in person. Thus the 

1 Cf. Abraham, 'Psycho-Analytical Studies on Character - Formation* 

1 In his 'Homosexualitat und Odipuskomplex* (1926) Felix Boehm draws 
attention to the significance of phantasies frequently found in men that^ their 
father's penis has been retained by their mother after copulation and is hidden 
inside her vagina. He also points out that 'the various notions of a concealed 
female penis exert a pathological influence in virtue of the fact that they are 
brought into unconscious relation with the idea of a big and dreaded penis 
belonging to the father, which is hidden inside the mother*. In psycho- 
analytical literature frequent mention is made of phantasies of meeting the 
father's penis in the mother's womb and of witnessing copulation between the 
parents, or of being damaged by it, during intra-uterine life. 

Cf. Chapter XII. 


penis inside the mother represents a combination of father 
and mother in one person, 1 and this combination is re- 
garded as a particularly terrifying and threatening one. 
As has been pointed out earlier, at its period of maximal 
strength the child's sadism is centred round coitus be- 
tween his parents. The death-wishes he feels against them 
during the primal scene or in his primal phantasies are 
associated with sadistic phantasies which are extraor- 
dinarily rich in content and which involve the sadistic 
destruction of hrs parents both singly and together. 

The child also has phantasies in which his parents de- 
stroy each other by means of their genitals and excrements 
which are imagined as dangerous weapons. These phan- 
tasies have important effects and are very numerous, con- 
taining such ideas as that the penis, incorporated in the 
mother, turns into a dangerous animal or into weapons 
loaded with explosive substances ; or that her vagina, too, 
becomes a dangerous animal or some instrument of death, 
as, for instance, a poisoned mouse-trap. Since such phan- 
tasies are wish-phantasies and since his sexual theories are 
largely fed by sadistic desires, the child has a sense of guilt 
about the injuries which, in his imagination, his parents 
inflict on each other. 

In addition to the quantitative increase which the child's 
sadism undergoes at every point of origin, qualitative 
changes take place in it and serve to heighten it still further. 
In the later part of the sadistic phase the child's imaginary 
attacks on his object, which are of a very violent nature and 
made by every method at the disposal of his sadism, be- 
come extended to include more secret and subtle methods 
which make them all the more dangerous. In the first part 
of this phase, for instance, where open violence reigns, 
excrements are regarded as instruments of direct assault; 
but later they acquire significance as substances of an explo- 
sive or poisonous kind. All these elements taken together 

1 I have noticed in boys* analyses time and again that attempts to attack me 
were ^directed more especially against my head or feet or nose, and I have found 
that it was not the female penis which they were thus attacking but the father's 
penis which had been incorporated in me or affixed to my person. 


give rise to sadistic phantasies whose number, variety 
and richness are wellnigh inexhaustible. Moreover, these 
sadistic impulses against his father and mother copulat- 
ing together lead the child to expect punishment from 
both parents in concert. In this early stage, however, his 
anxiety serves to intensify his sadism and to increase his 
impulse to destroy the dangerous object, so that he brings 
a still greater amount of sadistic and destructive wishes 
to bear upon his combined parents and is correspondingly 
more afraid of them as a hostile entity. 

According to my view, the Oedipus conflict sets in in 
the boy as soon as he begins to have feelings of hatred 
against his father's penis and to want to achieve genital 
union with his mother and destroy his father's penis which 
he imagines to be inside her body. I consider that early 
genital impulses and phantasies, although they set in dur- 
ing the phase dominated by sadism, constitute, in children 
of both sexes, the early stages of the Oedipus conflict, be- 
cause they satisfy the accepted criteria for it. Although the 
child's pre-genital impulses are still in the ascendant, it is 
already beginning to feel, in addition to oral, urethral and 
anal desires, genital desires for the parent of the opposite 
sex and jealousy and hatred of the parent of the same sex 
and to experience a conflict between its love and its hatred 
of the latter. We may even go so far as to say that the 
Oedipus conflict owes its very acuteness to this early situa- 
tion. The small girl, for instance, while turning from her 
mother with feelings of hatred and disappointment and 
directing her oral and genital desires towards her father, 
is yet bound to the former by the powerful ties of her oral 
fixations and of her helplessness in general; and the small 
boy is drawn to his father by his positive oral attachment, 
and away from him by his feelings of hatred that arise from 
the early Oedipus situation. But the conflict is not so clearly 
visible in this stage of the child's development as it is later 
on. This, I think, is partly due to the fact that the small 
child has less means of giving expression to its feelings and 
that its relations to its objects are as yet confused and 


vague. A part of its reactions to its object are applied to 
its phantasy-objects; 1 and it often directs the bulk of its 
anxiety and hatred towards the latter in especial towards 
internalized objects so that its attitude towards its parents 
only reflects a portion of the difficulties it experiences 
in its attitude to its object. But these difficulties find ex- 
pression in a number of other ways. It has been my in- 
variable experience, for instance, that the night-terrors and 
phobias of small children are already due to the presence 
of an Oedipus conflict. 

I do not think that a sharp distinction can be made be- 
tween the early stages of the Oedipus conflict and the later 
ones, 8 Since, as far as my observations show, the genital 
impulses set in at the same time as the pre-genital ones and 
influence and modify them, and since, as a result of this 
early association, they themselves bear traces of certain pre- 
genital impulses even in later stages of development, the 
attainment of the genital stage merely means a strengthen- 
ing of the genital impulses. That the pre-genital and the 
genital impulses are thus merged together is seen from the 
well-known fact that when children witness the primal 
scene or have primal phantasies both events of a genital 
character they experience very powerful pre-genital im- 
pulses, such as bed-wetting and defaecating, accompanied 
by sadistic phantasies directed towards their copulating 

According to my observation, the child's masturbation 
phantasies have as their nucleus early sadistic phantasies 
centred upon its parents' copulation. It is those destructive 
impulses, fused with libidinal ones, which cause the super- 

1 We shall discuss the various directions in which the child's object-relation- 
ships flow later on. It attaches to its imaginary objects not only feelings of 
hatred and anxiety but positive feelings as well. In doing this it withdraws them 
from its real objects, and if its relations to its imaginary objects are too powerful, 
both in a negative and a positive sense, it cannot adequately attach either its 
sadistic phantasies or its restitutive ones to its real objects, with the result that 
it undergoes disturbances of its adaptation to reality and of its object-relationships. 

* I do not, for instance, think that Fenichel is justified in differentiating 
*pre-genital precursors of the Oedipus complex' from the Oedipus complex 
itself, as he does in his *Pregenital Antecedents of the Oedipus Complex' (1930). 


ego to put up defences against masturbation phantasies 
and, incidentally, against masturbation itself. The child's 
sense of guilt about its early genital masturbation is thus 
derived from its sadistic phantasies directed against its 
parents. And since, furthermore, those masturbation 
phantasies contain the essence of its Oedipus conflict and 
can therefore be regarded as the focal point of its whole 
sexual life, the sense of guilt it has on account of its 
libidinal impulses is really a reaction to the destructive 
impulses that are knit up with them. 1 If this is so, then 
not only would it not be the incestuous tendencies which 
give rise in the first instance to a sense of guilt, but fear 
of incest itself would ultimately be derived from the de- 
structive impulses which have entered into a permanent 
partnership with the child's earliest incestuous desires. 

If we are right in supposing that the child's Oedipus 
tendencies set in in the phase of maximal sadism, we are led 
to accept the view that it is chiefly impulses of hate which 
bring on the Oedipus conflict and the formation of the 
super-ego and which govern the earliest and most decisive 
stages of both. Such a view, though it may at first sight 
seem alien to the accepted theory of psycho-analysis, never- 
theless fits in with our knowledge of the fact that the libido 
evolves to the genital stage out of the pre-genital stages. 
Freud has repeatedly pointed out that in the development 
of the individual hatred precedes love. In his 'Instincts and 
their Vicissitudes' (1915) he says: 'The relation of hate to 
objects is older than that of love. It is derived from the 
primal repudiation by the narcissistic ego of the external 
world whence flows the stream of stimuli' (p. 82); and 
again : *The ego hates, abhors and pursues with intent to 
destroy all objects which are for it a source of painful feel- 

1 In a paper, *The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Development of 
the Ego*, which I read at the Psycho-Analytical Congress held in Oxford in 
1929, I stated this view as follows: *It is only in the later stages of the Oedipus 
conflict that the defence against the libidinal impulses makes its appearance; 
in the earlier stages it is against the accompanying destructive impulses that the 
defence is directed*. 

At thesame Congress Ernest Jones, in his paper Tear, Guilt and Hate*,laid stress 
upon the importance of the aggressive tendencies in giving rise to the sense of guilt. 



ings, without taking into account whether they mean to 
it frustration of sexual satisfaction or gratification of the 
needs of self-preservation' (p. Si). 1 

The orthodox view is that the formation of the superego 
begins in the phallic phase. In his 'Passing of the Oedi- 
pus Complex' (1924) Freud states that the Oedipus com- 
plex is succeeded by the erection of the super-ego that 
it falls to pieces and the super-ego takes its place. Again, 
in his Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1926), we read: 
'Anxiety in animal phobias is thus an effective reaction of 
the ego to danger the danger that is threatened being 
castration. There is no difference between this anxiety 
and the reality anxiety that the ego normally feels in situa- 
tions of danger, except that its content remains uncon- 
scious and is only perceived in a distorted form' S. 67). 
According to this view, the anxiety which affects children 
until the beginning of the latency period would refer solely 
to fear of castration in the case of the boy and to fear of 
losing love in the case of the girl, and the super-ego would 
not start to form until the pre-genital stages had been left 
behind and would be the result of a regression to the oral 
stage. In The Ego and the Id (1927) Freud tells us that 'At 
the very beginning, in the primitive oral phase of the indi- 
vidual's existence, object cathexis and identification are 
hardly to be distinguished from each other' (p. 35): and 
'it' (the super-ego) 'is really the precipitate of the first 
object cathexes of the id; the inheritor of the Oedipus 
complex after the dissolution of the latter'. 2 

1 In his Civilization and its Discontents (1929) he goes still further and says: 
4 This instinct' (of aggression) . . . *is at the bottom of all the relations of affection 
and love between human beings possibly with the single exception of that of 
a mother to her male child* (p. 89). My own view that the Oedipus conflict 
starts under the primacy of sadism seems to me to supplement what Freud says, 
since it gives another reason why hatred should be the basis of object-relationships 
in the fact that the child forms its relation with its parents a. relation that is so 
fundamental and so decisive for all its future object-relationships during the 
time when its sadistic tendencies are at the height of their power. The ambivalence 
it feels towards its mother's breast as its first object becomes strengthened by the 
increasing oral frustration it undergoes and by the onset of its Oedipus conflict, 
until it grows into fully-developed sadism. 

* Die Fragf der Lcuenonalyse (1926), 74. 


My own observations have led me to believe that the 
formation of the super-ego is a simpler and more direct pro- 
cess. The Oedipus conflict and the super-ego set in, I be- 
lieve, under the supremacy of the pre-genital impulses, and 
the objects which have been introjected in the oral-sadistic 
phase the first object cathexes and identifications form 
the beginnings of the early super-ego. 1 Moreover, what 
originates the formation of the super-ego and governs its 
earliest stages are the destructive impulses and the anxiety 
they arouse. In thus regarding the impulses of the indi- 
vidual as the fundamental factor in the formation of his 
super-ego we do not deny the importance of the objects 
themselves for this process, but we view it in a different 
light. The earliest identifications of the child reflect its 
objects in an unreal and distorted fashion. As we know 
from Abraham, in an early stage of development both real 
and introjected objects are mainly represented by their 
organs. We also know that the father's penis is an anxiety 
object par excellence^ and is compared in the unconscious to 
dangerous weapons of various kinds and to terrifying ani- 
mals which poison and devour, while the vagina represents a 
dangerous opening, 2 Early analysis shows that these equa- 
tions are a universal mechanism of fundamental importance 
in the structure of the super-ego. As far as I can judge, the 
nucleus of the super-ego is to be found in the partial incor- 
poration that takes place during the cannibalistic phase of 
development; 3 and the child's early imagos take the im- 
print of those pre-genital impulses. 4 

1 In her paper, 'Privation and Guilt* (1929), Susan Isaacs points out that 
Freud's *primary identification* probably plays a greater part in the formation 
of the super-ego than was originally supposed. 

* Cf. the phantasy, so often mentioned in psycho-analytic literature, of the 
vagina dentate. 

3 In the next chapter, and more especially in Chapter XL, I shall try to 
show that the child introjects both good imagos and bad ones, and that gradually, 
as his adaptation to reality and the formation of his super-ego go forward, those 
imagos approximate more and more closely to the real objects they represent, 
In this chapter I only intend to give a picture of the development or the child's 
sadistic tendencies and their connection with his early super-ego formation and 

4 In my 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict' (1928) I wrote: *It does not 
seem understandable that a child of, say, four years old should set up in its 


That the ego should regard the internalized object as so 
cruel an enemy of the id would follow logically from the 
fact that the destructive instinct which the ego has de- 
flected to the outer world has become directed against that 
object, from which, in consequence, nothing but hostility 
against the id can be awaited. But as far as can be seen, a 
phylogenetic factoi is also present in the origin of the very 
early and intense anxiety which, in my experience, the 
child feels in respect of his internalized object. The father 
of the primal horde was the external power which enforced 
an inhibition of instinct. 1 In the course of the history of 
man, the fear of his father which he had acquired would, 
when he began to internalize his object, serve in part as a 
defence against the anxiety which his destructive instinct 
in him gave rise to.* 

Concerning the formation of the super-ego, Freud seems 
to follow two lines of thought, which are to some extent 
mutually complementary. According to one the severity of 
the super-ego is derived from the severity of the real father 
whose prohibitions and commands it repeats. 3 According 

mind an unreal, phantastic image of parents who devour, cut and bite. But it 
does seem understandable that in a child of one year old the anxiety caused by 
the beginning of the Oedipus conflict should take the form of a dread of being 
devoured and destroyed. The child itself desires to destroy its libidinal object 
by biting:, devouring and cutting it, and this leads to anxiety, since the awakening 
of its Oedipus tendencies is followed by introjection of its object, which then 
becomes one from whom punishment is to be expected. The child now dreads 
a punishment corresponding to its offence, and the super-ego becomes something 
which bites, devours and cuts up,* 

1 Cf. Freud, Totem und Tabu (1912). 

* The ego would, as it were, play off its two enemies, the object and the 
destructive instinct, against one another, although in so doing it would find 
itself in a very perilous position between the two opposed forces. That the 
dreaded father should in part be a protection against the destructive instinct 
may also be due to the admiration for his power which the individual would 
have acquired in the same phylogenetic way. This possibility receives support 
from the fact that in early analysis we find that quite small children of both 
sexes are not only afraid oftheir father but have a feeling of boundless admiration 
for his power a feeling which is very deep-lying and primary in character. 
And we must remember that as children grow older, the part their super-ego 
plays, though that of a severe father, is not that of an unkind one. Freud con- 
cludes his paper on 'Humour 1 (1928) with these words: 'Finally, if the super-ego 
does try to comfort the ego by humour and to protect it from suffering, this 
4oes not conflict with its derivation from the parental institution*. 

1 In his 'Passing of the Oedipus Complex (1924) Freud says that the ego 


to the other, as indicated in one or two passages in his 
writings, its severity is an outcome of the destructive im- 
pulses of the subject. 1 

Psycho-Analysis has not followed up the second line of 
thought. As its literature shows, it has adopted the theory 
that the super-ego is derived from parental authority and 
has made this theory the basis of all further enquiry into 
the subject. Nevertheless, Freud has recently, in part, con- 
firmed my own view, 2 which lays emphasis on the import- 
ance of the impulses of the individual himself as a factor 

of the child turns away from the Oedipus complex in consequence of the threat 
of castration. 'The authority of the father or the parents is mtrojected into the 
ego and there forms the kernel of the super-ego, which takes its severity from 
the father, perpetuates his prohibition against incest, and so insures the ego 
against a recurrence of the libidinal object-cathexis' (p. 273). In The Ego and the 
Id (1926) we are told: 'Its* (the super-ego's) 'relation to the ego is not exhausted 
by the precept: "You ought to be such and such (like your father)*'; it also com- 
prises the prohibition: "You must not be such and such (like your father); that 
is, you may not do all that he does; many things are his prerogative". This 
double aspect of the ego-ideal derives from the fact that the ego-ideal had the 
task of effecting the repression of the Oedipus complex; indeed, it is to that 
revolutionary event that it owes its existence. Clearly the repression of the 
Oedipus complex was no easy task. The parents, and especially the father, were 
perceived as the obstacle to realization of the Oedipus wishes; so the child's 
ego brought in a reinforcement to help in carrying out the repression by erecting 
this same obstacle within itself, The strength to do this was, so to speak, borrowed 
from the father, and this loan was an extraordinarily momentous act. The 
super-ego retains the character of the father, while the more intense the Oedipus 
complex was and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the 
influence of discipline, religious teaching, schooling and reading) the more 
exacting later on is the domination of the super-ego over the ego in the form 
of conscience or perhaps of an unconscious sense of guilt. I shall later bring 
forward a suggestion about the source of the power it employs to dominate 
in this way, the source, that is, of its compulsive character which manifests 
itself in the form of a categorical imperative* (p. 44). 

1 In The Ego and the Id (1926) he says: 'Everjr such identification is in the 
nature of a desexualization or even of a sublimation. It now seems as though 
when a transformation of this kind takes place there occurs at the same time an 
instinctual defusion. After sublimation the erotic component no longer has the 
power to bind the whole of the destructive elements that were previously com- 
bined with it, and these are released in the form of inclinations to aggression 
and destruction. This defusion would be the source of the general character of 
harshness and cruelty exhibited by the ideal its dictatorial "Thou shalt" ' (p. 80). 

3 In his CruiUxation and its Discontents (1930) we read: 'Experience has shown, 
however, that the severity which a child's super-ego develops in no way corre- 
sponds to the severity of the treatment it has itself experienced*, and that 'the 
original severity of the super-ego does not or not so much represent the 
severity which has been experienced or anticipated from the object, but expresses 
the child's own aggressiveness towards the latter* (p. 116). 


in the origin of his super-ego and on the fact that his super- 
ego is not identical with his real objects. 1 

I should like to call the early identifications made by the 
child 'early stages of super-ego formation' in the same way 
as I have used the term 'early stages of the Oedipus con- 
flict'. In the earliest stages of the child's development the 
precipitates of its object cathexes exert an influence of a 
kind which characterizes them as a super-ego, although 
they differ in quality and mode of operation from the iden- 
tifications belonging to later stages. And cruel as this super- 
ego formed under the supremacy of sadism may be, it 
nevertheless takes on the defence of the ego against the 
destructive instinct, and is thus already at this early 
stage the agency from which instinctual inhibitions pro- 

In his paper, 'Die Identifizierung* (1926), Fenichel has 
applied certain criteria which differentiate the 'precursors 
of the super-ego', as he calls those early identifications in 
accordance with a suggestion made by Reich, 2 from the 
super-ego itself. These precursors exist, he thinks, in a 
scattered state and independently of one another, and lack 
the unity, the severity, the opposition to the ego, the quality 
of being unconscious and the great power which characterize 
the actual super-ego as inheritor of the Oedipus complex. 
In my opinion such a differentiation is incorrect in several 
respects. As far as I have been able to observe, it is precisely 
the early super-ego which is especially severe; and, nor- 
mally speaking, in no period of life is the opposition be- 
tween ego and super-ego so strong as in early childhood. 
Indeed, this latter fact explains why in the first stages of 

1 My views are in agreement with those of Ernest Jones, Edward Glover, 
Joan Riviere and M. N. Searl, who, approaching the subject from different 
standpoints, have come to the conclusion that the child's early phantasy life 
and libidinal development play a large part in the evolution of the super-ego. 
Cf. *A Symposium on Child Analysis* (1926); also a paper by Ernest Jones 
on "The Origin and Structure of the Super-ego" (1926), in which he points out 
that *there is every reason to think that the concept of the super-ego is a nodal 
point where we may expect all the obscure problems of Oedipus complex and 
narcissism on the one hand, and hate and sadism on the other, to meet' (p. 304). 

1 Cf. Reich, Der Triebhafte Charakter (1925), 


life the tension between the two is chiefly felt as anxiety. 
Furthermore, I have found that the commands and pro- 
hibitions of the super-ego are no less unconscious in the 
small child than in the adult, and that they are by no means 
identical with the commands that come from its real ob- 
jects. Fenichel is right, I think, in saying that the super- 
ego of the child is not yet as closely organized as that of the 
grown-up person. But this point of difference, apart from 
not being universally true, since many small children ex- 
hibit a well-organized super-ego and many adults a scat- 
tered one, seems to me merely to be in keeping with the 
lesser degree of mental cohesion possessed by the small 
child as compared to the adult. We know that small chil- 
dren have a less highly organized ego than children in the 
latency period, yet we do not therefore say that they have 
no ego but only precursors of an ego. 

It has already been said that in the phase of maximal 
sadism an increase of sadistic tendencies leads to an in- 
crease of anxiety. The threats uttered by the early super- 
ego against the id contain in detail the whole range of 
sadistic phantasies that were directed to the object, so that 
now every item of them is turned back against the ego. 
Thus the pressure of anxiety exerted in this early stage will 
correspond in degree to the amount of sadism originally 
present, and in quality to the variety and wealth of the 
accompanying sadistic phantasies. 1 

The gradual overcoming of sadism and anxiety is a re- 
sult of the development of the libido. 8 But the very excess 
of his anxiety also impels the individual to overcome it. 
Anxiety assists the several erotogenic zones to grow in 
strength and gain the upper hand one after another. Thus 
the supremacy of the oral- and urethral-sadistic impulses 
is followed by the supremacy of the anal-sadistic im- 
pulses; and since the mechanisms belonging to the early 
anal-sadistic stage, however powerful they may be, 

1 Cf. my paper, c lnfantik Anxiety-Situations Reflected in a Work of Art* 


Cf. the next chapter for a fuller discussion of this poinu 


are already acting on behalf of the defences which have 
been erected against anxiety arising from the earlier 
periods of the sadistic phase, it follows that that very 
anxiety which is pre-eminently an inhibiting agency in the 
development of the individual is also a factor of funda- 
mental importance in promoting the growth of his ego and 
of his sexual life. 

In this stage of the development of the individual his 
methods of defence are proportionate to the pressure of 
anxiety in him and are violent in the extreme. We know 
that in the early anal-sadistic stage what he is ejecting is his 
object, which he perceives as something hostile to him and 
which he equates with excrement. In my view, what he is 
also already ejecting is his terrifying super-ego which he has 
introjected in the oral-sadistic stage of his development. 
Thus his act of ejection is a means of defence employed by 
his fear-ridden ego against his super-ego; it expels his 
internalized objects and projects them into the outer world. 
The mechanisms of projection and expulsion in the individ- 
ual are closely bound up with the process of super-ego forma- 
tion. Just as his ego tries to defend itself against his super- 
ego by violently ejecting it and thus destroying it, so, urged 
on by the threats of that super-ego, it tries to rid itself of his 
sadistic id that is, of his destructive tendencies by the 
same method of forcible expulsion. In Hemmung^ Symptom 
und Angst (1926) Freud says that he considers the idea of 
defence as well-fitted for 'a general designation for all the 
methods used by the ego in those conflicts which may lead 
to a neurosis; whereas the idea of repression should be 
reserved for that particular method of defence which our 
line of investigation has first led us to understand' (S. 106). 
He furthermore explicitly states the possibility 'that re- 
pression is a process which stands in a special relationship 
to the genital organization of the libido and that the ego 
turns to other methods of defence when it has to protect 
itself against the libido in other stages of its organization* 
(S. 65). My view is also supported by Abraham in a 
passage in which he says that 'the tendency to spare 


the object and to preserve it has grown out of the more 
primitive destructive tendency by a process of repres- 
sion'. 1 

Concerning the dividing line between the two anal- 
sadistic stages the same author writes as follows: *In re- 
garding this dividing line as extremely important we find 
ourselves in agreement with the ordinary medical view. 
For the division that we psycho-analysts have made on the 
strength of empirical data coincides in fact with the classi- 
fication into neurosis and psychosis made by clinical medi- 
cine. But analysts, of course, would not attempt to make 
a rigid separation between neurotic and psychotic affec- 
tions. They are, -on the contrary, aware that the libido of 
any individual may regress beyond this dividing line be- 
tween the two anal-sadistic phases, given a suitable excit- 
ing cause of illness, and given certain points of fixation in 
his libidinal development which facilitate a regression of 
this nature.' 2 

As we know, it is not in the actual structure of his 
mind that the normal man differs from the neurotic, but 
in the quantitative factors at work. The above quotations 
from Abraham imply that the difference between the psy- 
chotic and the neurotic person is also one of degree. My 
own psycho-analytical work with children has not only 
confirmed me in the opinion that the points of fixation for 
psychoses lie in the stages of development preceding the 
second anal level, but has convinced me that neurotic and 
normal children have points of fixation there as well, 
though in a minor degree. 

We know that the psychotic has a far greater quantity 
of anxiety than the neurotic; yet the accepted theory of 
super-ego formation offers no explanation of the fact that 
such an overwhelming anxiety can come into being in 
those very early stages of development in which, according 
to the findings of Freud and Abraham, the fixations for 
the psychoses are situated. Freud's latest theories, brought 

1 *A Short Study of the Development of the Libido* (1924), p. 428. 
* Ibid. p. 433. 


forward in his Hemmung, Symptom und Angst., rule out the 
possibility that this immense quantity of anxiety might 
arise from the conversion of unsatisfied libido into anxiety. 
Nor can we assume that the child's fear of being devoured, 
cut up and killed by its parents is a reality fear. But if we 
suppose that this excessive anxiety can only be an effect 
of intra-psychic processes we shall not be so far from the 
theory put forward in these pages that early anxiety pro- 
ceeds from the pressure of the super-ego. The pressure 
which, in an early stage of the child's development, the 
super-ego exerts on his destructive tendencies not only 
answers, both in degree and kind, to his sadistic phantasies, 
but arouses anxiety-situations which reflect the various 
periods which his sadistic phase covers. These anxiety- 
situations, furthermore, call out special mechanisms of de- 
fence on the part of his ego and determine the specific 
character his psychotic disorder will assume, as well as 
being decisive for his development in general. 1 

Before attempting to study the relationship between 
early anxiety-situations and the specific character of psy- 
chotic affections, however, let us first turn our attention 
to the way in which the formation of the super-ego and 
the development of object-relations affect each other. If 
it is true that the super-ego is formed at such an early 
stage of ego development, when the ego is still so far re- 
moved from reality, we must review the growth of object- 
relations in a new light. The fact that the individual 
creates a distorted picture of his objects in virtue of his 
own sadistic impulses not only puts a different complexion 
on the influence exerted by those objects and his relations 
to them on the formation of his super-ego, but, conversely, 
increases the importance of his super-ego formation in 
regard to his object-relations. When, as a small child, he 
first begins to introject his objects and these, it must be 
remembered, are only very vaguely known to him and 

1 In Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1926) Freud writes: 'It is possible that 
there is a close connection between the operative danger-situation and the form 
assumed by the neurosis that follows upon it" (S. 84-5). 


mainly through their separate organs his fear of those 
introjected objects sets in motion the mechanisms of ejec- 
tion and projection, as we have already seen; and there 
now follows a reciprocal action between projection and 
introjection, which seems to be of fundamental import- 
ance not only for the formation of his super-ego but for 
the development of his object-relations to persons and his 
adaptation to reality. The steady and continual urge he is 
under to project his terrifying identifications on to his 
objects results, it would seem, in an increased impulse to 
repeat the process of introjection again and again, and is 
thus itself a decisive factor in the evolution of his relation- 
ship to objects. 1 

The interaction between object-relation and super-ego 
is also exhibited, I think, in the fact that at every stage of 
development the methods which the ego uses in its deal- 
ings with its object correspond exactly to those used by 
the super-ego towards the ego, and by the ego towards 
the super-ego and the id. In the sadistic phase the indi- 
vidual protects himself from his fear of his violent object, 
both introjected and external, by redoubling his own 
destructive attacks upon it in his imagination. In thus 
getting rid of his object his aim would in part be to silence 
the intolerable threats of his super-ego. But a reaction of 
this kind presupposes that the mechanism of projection 
has already begun to work along two lines one by which 
the ego is putting the object in the place of the super-ego 
from which it wants to free itself, and another by which 
it is making the object stand for the id of which it also 
wants to be rid. In this way the amount of hatred which 
was primarily directed against the object is augmented by 
the amount attaching to the id and the super-ego. Thus 
it would seem that in people in whom the early anxiety- 
situations are too powerful and who have retained the 

1 In his 'Instincts and their Vicissitudes' (1915) Freud writes: *The objects 
presenting themselves, in so far as they are sources of pleasure, are absorbed by 
the ego into itself, "introjected" (according to an expression coined by Ferenczi) j 
while, on the other hand, the ego thrusts forth upon the external world whatever 
within itself gives rise to pain (i;. infra: the mechanism of projection)* (p. 78). 


defensive mechanisms belonging to that early stage, fear 
of the super-ego, if for external or intra-psychic reasons 
it oversteps certain bounds, will compel them to destroy 
their object and will form the basis for the development 
of a criminal type of behaviour. 1 

These too-powerful early anxiety-situations are also, I 
think, of fundamental importance in theaetiology of schizo- 
phrenia. But I can only support this view here by putting 
forward one or two suggestions. As has already been 
pointed out, by projecting his terrifying super-ego on to his 
objects, the indK I aal increases his hatred of those objects 
and thus also his fear of them, with the result that, if his 
aggression and anxiety are excessive, his external world is 
changed into a place of terror and his objects into enemies 
and he is threatened with persecution both from the ex- 
ternal world and from his introjected enemies. If his 
anxiety is too immense or if his ego cannot tolerate it, he 
will try to evade his fear of external enemies by putting 
his mechanisms of projection out of action ; this would in its 
turn prevent any further introjection of objects from tak- 
ing place and put an end to the growth of his relation to 
reality, 2 and he would be all the more exposed to fear of his 
already introjected objects. He would be in dread of being 
attacked and injured in various ways by an enemy within 
him from whom there was no escape. A fear of this kind is 
probably one of the deepest sources of hypochondria, and 
the excess of it, insusceptibl'e as it is to any modification 
or displacement, would obviously call out particularly 
violent methods of defence. A disturbance like this of the 
mechanism of projection seems, moreover, to go along 

1 If crime does indeed spring from early anxiety in this way, our only hope 
of understanding the criminal and perhaps reforming him would seem to be to 
subject the deepest levels of his mental life to analysis. 

3 Cf. my paper, *The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Develop- 
ment of the Ego' (1930). 

Melitta Schmideberg has pointed out that the schizophrenic cuts himself 
off from the external world by taking refuge in his 'good' internal object a 
manoeuvre which he accomplishes by ceasing to project and by over-com- 
pensating ^his love of his internal object in a narcissistic way and thus 
evading his fear of his 'bad* internal and external objects. (Cf. her articles 


with a negation of intra-psychic reality. 1 The person thus 
affected denies, 2 and to a certain extent eliminates, 3 not only 
the source of his anxiety, but its affects well. A whole num- 
ber of phenomena belonging to the syndrome of schizo- 
phrenia can be explained as an attempt to ward off, master 
or contend with an internal enemy. Katatonia, for instance, 
could be regarded as an attempt to paralyse the intro- 
jected object and keep it immovable and so render it in- 
nocuous. 4 

The earliest period of the sadistic phase is characterized 
by the great violence of the attack made on the object, In 
a later period of this phase, coinciding with the early anal 
stage in which the anal-sadistic impulses take the lead, 
more secret methods of attack prevail, such as the use of 
poisonous and explosive materials. Excrements now repre- 
sent poisons, 5 and in its phantasies the child uses faeces 
as persecuting agencies 6 against its objects and secretly 

'The Role of Psychotic Mechanisms in Cultural Development*, 1930, and *A 
Contribution to the Psychology of Persecutory Ideas and Delusions', 1931.) 

1 In his paper, 'Stages in the Development of a Sense of Reality* (1913), 
Ferenczi has remarked that the complete denial of reality is a very early form of 
mental reaction and that the points of fixation for psychoses should be situated 
in a correspondingly early stage of development. 

* According to Melitta Schmideberg, denial of the affect of anxiety is in 
part utilized to deny the existence of the introjected object with which the 
affects are equated (cf. *A Contribution to the Psychology of Persecutory Ideas 
and Delusions', 1931). 

3 In his 'fjber Skotomisation in der Schizophrenic* (1926) Laforgue has 
suggested the name 'scotomization* for this defensive mechanism and has drawn 
attention to its importance in schizophrenia. 

4 According to Melitta Schmideberg, katatonia represents death and is a 
means of escaping from the various forms of attack which the patient dreads 
(cf. op. cit.). 

6 Cf. my paper, *The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Development 
of the Ego* (1930), also *A Contribution to the Theory of Intellectual In- 
hibition* (1931). More recently, in a paper entitled 'tJber respiratorische Intro- 
jektion* (1931), Fenichel has described a class of sadistic phantasies in which 
the excreta are instruments of killing, the faeces by poisoning and exploding, 
and the urine by poisoning. According to him these phantasies bring on a fear 
of being poisoned by excreta. His paper seems to me to corroborate the views 
already put forward by me in the above-mentioned articles, 

6 Cf. Ophuijsen, *On the Origin of the Feeling of Persecution* (1919)* and 
Starcke, 'The Reversal of the Libido-Sign in Delusions of Persecution* (1919). 
According to them the paranoic's idea of the persecutor is derived from the 
unconscious idea of the scybalum inside his bowels and his equation of that 
scybalum with his persecutor's penis. I have found that the fear of pieces of 


inserts them by a kind of magic 1 into the anus and other 
bodily apertures of those objects and leaves them there. In 
consequence it begins to be afraid of its own excrement, 
as a substance which is dangerous and harmful to its body, 
and of the incorporated excrements of its objects from 
whom it awaits similar secret attacks through the same 
dangerous medium. Thus its phantasies lead to a fear of 
having a multitude of persecutors inside its body and of 
being poisoned, and are the basis of hy pochondriacal fears, 
They also serve to increase the fear aroused by the equa- 
tion of the introjected object with faeces, 2 for that object 
is made still more dangerous by being likened to the 
poisonous and destructive scybalum. And the fact that, in 
consequence of its urethral-sadistic impulses, the child also 
thinks of urine as something dangerous, as something that 
burns, cuts and poisons, prepares it unconsciously to re- 
gard the penis as a sadistic organ and to dread its father's 
(the persecutor's) 3 dangerous penis within itself. 

In the period in which it makes attacks by means of 
poisonous excreta, the child's fears of subterraneous 
attacks upon itself on the part of its introjected and ex- 
ternal objects become more manifold, in accordance with 
the greater variety and subtlety of its own sadistic proced- 
ures ; and they push the activity of its mechanisms of pro- 
jection to their furthest limits. Its anxiety spreads out and 
is distributed over many objects and sources of danger in 
the outer world, so that it now expects to be attacked by 
a great number of persecutors, 4 The quality of secrecy and 

stool as persecutors was ultimately derived from sadistic phantasies in which 
urine and faeces were employed as poisonous and destructive weapons against 
the mother's body. 

1 R6heim, in his 'Nach dem Tode des Urvaters* (1923), has shown that in 
primitive tribes the black magician kills a man or makes him ill by magically 
inserting excrements or their equivalents into his body. 

* Abraham (*A Short Study of the Development of the Libido*, 1924) has 
shown that the hated object is equated with faeces. Cf. also R6heim, *Nach dem 
Tode des Urvaters 1 (1923), and Simmel, 'The Doctor-Game, Illness, and the 
Profession of Medicine* (1926). 

3 Cf. my paper, *A Contribution to the Theory of Intellectual Inhibition" 

4 The fear of numerous persecutors has not only an anal-sadistic origin, as 


cunning which it attributes to those attacks leads it to ob- 
serve the world about it with a watchful and suspicious eye 
and thus to strengthen its relations to reality, one-sided and 
false though that relation may be; while its fear of the in- 
trojected object, notwithstanding the mechanisms of pro- 
jection, is a constant incentive to it to keep those mechan- 
isms in operation. 

The fixation-point for paranoia is, I think, this period 
of the phase of maximal sadism, in which the child's attacks 
upon the interior of its mother's body and the penis it im- 
agines to be there are carried out by means of poisonous 
and dangerous excreta; 1 and delusions of reference and 
persecution spring from the anxiety-situations attached to 
those attacks. 2 

According to my view, the child's fear of its introjected 
objects urges it to displace that fear into the external world. 
In doing this it takes its organs, objects, faeces and all 
manner of things, as well as its internalized objects, and 
equates them with its external objects; and it also distri- 

being a fear of many persecuting faeces, but an oral one as well. In my ex- 
perience the child's sexual theory, according to which its mother incorporates 
a new penis every time she copulates and its father is provided with a quantity 
of penises, contributes to its fear of having a great number of persecutors. 

Melitta Schmideberg regards this multiplicity of persecutors as being a pro- 
jection of the child's own oral-sadistic attacks on its fathers penis, each separate 
bit of his penis becoming a new object of anxiety (cf. her paper, 'The R61e of 
Psychotic Mechanisms in Cultural Development*, 1930). 

1 Cf . also my paper, *The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Develop- 
ment of the Ego' (1930). I find myself in agreement with Abraham's view that 
in the paranoic the libido regresses to the earlier anal stage, for according to me 
the phase of maximal sadism is introduced by the oral-sadistic impulses and 
terminates with the decline of the earlier anal stage. The period of this phase 
which has been described above and which I consider to be fundamental for 
paranoia will be seen to be under the supremacy of the earlier anal stage. 
What has been said here adds something, I think, to the findings of Abraham. 
It shows that in the above-mentioned phase the various means of sadism are 
employed in conjunction and to their fullest capacity and that the urethral- 
sadistic tendencies are of fundamental importance as well as the oral-sadistic 
ones. It has also furnished a certain amount of information about the structure 
of those phantasies in which the anal-sadistic tendencies belonging to the earlier 
anal stage find expression. 

1 Melitta Schmideberg has brought forward two cases in which delusional 
ideas of persecution and reference were derived from anxiety-situations of this 
kind (cf. her paper, *A Contribution to the Psychology of Persecutory Ideas 
and Delusions*, 1931). 


butes its fear of its external object over a great number of 
objects by equating one with another. 1 

A relation of this kind to many objects, based as it is 
in part on anxiety and brought about by means of equa- 
tions, 2 may be called a phobic anxiety-mechanism, and is, 
I think, a further advance on the part of the individual in 
the establishment of a relationship to objects and an adapta- 
tion to reality; for his earliest object-relation only included 
one thing, i.e. his mother's breast as representing his 
mother. In the imagination of the small child these 
multiple objects are situated inside his mother's body, and 
this place is also the chief objective of his destructive and 
libidinal tendencies and also of his awakening epistemo- 
philic impulses. As his sadistic tendencies increase and he 
takes possession in phantasy of the interior of his mother's 
body, that part of her becomes the representative of her 
whole person as an object, and at the same time symbolizes 
the external world and reality. Indeed, through her breast, 
she originally represented the external world for him. But 
now the inside of her body represents object and outer 
world in a more extended sense, because it has become 
the place which contains, by reason of the wider distribu- 
tion of his anxiety, more manifold objects. 3 

Thus the child's sadistic phantasies about the interior 
of his mother's body lay down for him a fundamental 
relation to the external world and to reality. But his 
aggression and the anxiety he has in consequence of it, 

1 The child's destructive desires against its objects, as represented by bodily 
organs, arouse its fear of those organs and objects. Such a fear, together with 
its libidinal interests, leads it to equate those organs with other things, which 
thus in their turn become objects of anxiety, so that it is continually moving 
away from them and making fresh equations; and in this way it forms a system 
of symbolization (cf. my paper, "The Importance of Symbol-Formation in 
the Development of the Ego*, 1930). 

8 As Ferenczi has shown, the small child seeks to re-discover its own organs 
and their functions in every outside thing by means of identification which is 
the precursor of symbolization. 

3 According to Ernest Jones ("The Theory of Symbolism', 1916} the pleasure- 
principk enables the individual to liken quite different things to each other if 
the interest they arouse is of a similar kind. This view lays stress on the im- 
portance of libidinal interest as a basic factor in processes of identification and 


though one foundation of his object- relation s, is not 
the only one. His libido is also active at the same time 
and makes its influence felt. His libidinal relations to his 
objects and the influence exerted by reality counteract his 
fear of internal and external enemies. His belief in the 
existence of kindly and helpful figures a belief which is 
founded upon the efficacy of his libido enables his reality- 
objects to emerge ever more powerfully and his phantastic 
imagos to recede into the background. 1 

In this way the interaction between super-ego formation 
and object-relation, based on an interaction between pro- 
jection and introjection, profoundly influences his develop- 
ment. In the early stages the projection of his terrifying 
imagos into the external world turns that world into a place 
of danger and his objects into enemies; while the simul- 
taneous introjection of real objects who are in fact well- 
disposed to him works in the opposite direction and lessens 
the force of his fear of the terrifying imagos. Viewed in this 
light, super-ego formation, object-relations and adaptation 
to reality are the result of an interaction between the pro- 
jection of the individual's sadistic impulses and the intro- 
jection of his objects. 

1 Cf. my paper, 'Personification in the Pky of Children 1 (1929). 



IN the foregoing chapter we have considered the con- 
tent and effects of the early anxiety-situations of the 
individual. We shall now go on to examine in what 
way his libido and his relations to real objects bring about 
a modification of those anxiety-situations. 

As a result of the oral frustration the child undergoes it 
seeks new sources of gratification. 1 The little girl turns 
away from her mother and takes her father's penis as an 
object of gratification. At first this gratification is of an oral 
nature, but there are genital tendencies at work already. 2 
The small boy also evolves a positive attitude toward his 
father's penis out of his oral-sucking position, in virtue of 
the assimilation of the breast to a penis. 3 An oral-sucking 
fixation to the father's penis is, I have found, a primal 
factor in the establishment of true homosexuality. 4 But * 

1 In his 4 Notes on Oral Character-Formation' (1925) Edward Glover has 
pointed out that frustration is a stimulating factor in the development of the 

1 Cf. my papers, 'The Psychological Principles of Infant Analysis' (1926) 
and 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict' (1928). 

In his paper, 'Nach dem Tode des Urvaters' (1923), Roheim argues that 
through having devoured the corpse of their primal father his sons came to 
look on him as the nourishing mother. In this way, he thinks, they transferred 
the love which they had hitherto felt for their mother alone to their father as 
wells and their attitude to him, from having been a purely negative one, acquired 
a positive element. ^ 

* Cf. Freud, Kindkeitstrirmerung Leonardo da Vincu (1910). We shall follow 
these developmental processes more closely in Chapter XII. in discussing the 
sexual development of the boy. 


ordinarily his feelings of hatred and anxiety towards his 
father, arising out of his awakening Oedipus tendencies, 
militate against this fixation. 1 If his development goes for- 
ward successfully his positive attitude towards his father's 
penis becomes the basis of a good relationship to persons 
of his own sex and allows him to achieve a complete 
heterosexual position at the same time. Whilst, however, 
in the boy an oral-sucking relation to his father's penis 
may, under certain circumstances, lead to homosexuality, 
in the girl it is normally the precursor of heterosexual im- 
pulses and of the Oedipus conflict. A move of this sort on 
her part towards the father, and, in the boy, a second 
orientation towards the mother as a genital love-object, set 
up a new aim for the libidinal gratification of the child, 
in which the genitals begin to make their influence felt. 

In that early phase of development which I have termed 
the phase of maximal sadism, I have found that all the 
pre-genital stages and the genital stage as well are cathected 
in rapid succession. What then happens is that the libido 
enters upon a struggle with the destructive impulses and 
gradually consolidates its positions. Side by side with the 
-polarity of the life-instinct and the death-instinct we may, 
I think, place their interaction as a fundamental factor in 
the dynamic processes of the mind. There is an indissoluble 
bond between the libido and the destructive tendencies 
which puts the former to a great extent in the power of the 
latter. But the vicious circle dominated by the death-instinct, 
in which aggression gives rise to anxiety and anxiety re- 
inforces aggression, can be broken through by the libidinal 

1 The following example, taken from direct observation, illustrates the course 
of such a change from like to dislike. In the months which followed his weaning, 
a small boy showed a preference for fish foods as well as a great interest in fish 
in general. At the age of one he used often to look on with intense and obviously 
pleasurable interest while his mother killed and prepared fish in the kitchen. 
Soon afterwards he developed a great dislike of fish foods, which spread to a 
dislike of seeing fish and then to a regular fish phobia. Experience of numerous 
early analyses in which attacks on fishes, snakes and lizards have been seen to 
represent attacks on the father's penis enable us, I think, to understand the 
child's behaviour. The killing offish by his mother satisfied his sadistic impulses 
against his father's penis in a very high degree, and this made him afraid of his 
father, or, more correctly, of his father's penis. 


forces when these have gained in strength. As we know, in 
the early stages of development the life-instinct has to exert 
its power to the utmost in order to maintain itself against 
the death-instinct. But this very necessity stimulates the 
growth of the sexual life of the individual. 

Since the child's genital impulses remain concealed for 
a long time, we are not able clearly to discern the fluctua- 
tions and interminglings of the various phases of develop- 
ment which result from the conflict between its destructive 
and its libidinal impulses. The emergence of the stages 
of organization with which we are acquainted corresponds, 
I should say, not only to the positions which the libido has 
won and established in its struggle with the destructive 
instinct, but, since these two components are forever 
united as well as opposed, to a growing adjustment be- 
tween them. 

It is true that on the surface the small child shows 
relatively little of that tremendous sadism which is re- 
vealed in the analysis of its deepest mental levels. But my 
contention that in the earliest stages of its development the 
child goes through a time in which its sadistic tendencies 
reach their maximum at every source is, after all, only an 
amplification of the accepted and well-established theory 
that the child passes on from a stage of oral sadism (can- 
nibalism) to one of anal sadism. We must also bear in mind 
that those cannibalistic tendencies themselves find no ex- 
pression commensurate with their psychological import; 
for normally we only get comparatively faint indications of 
the small child's impulses to destroy its object, What we 
see are only derivatives of its phantasies in that connection. 
That the child should express its intensely sadistic im- 
pulses towards its external objects in such a weakened 
form becomes more intelligible if we assume that the ex- 
travagant phantasies which arise in a very early stage of its 
development never become conscious at all. It should, 
moreover, be remembered that the stage of ego-develop- 
ment in which such phantasies occur is a very early one 
and that the child's relations to reality are as yet very much 


influenced by its imaginative life. A further reason may be 
found in its inferiority in size and strength to the adult and 
in its biologically determined dependence on him ; for we 
see how much more strongly it manifests its destructive 
instincts towards inanimate things, small animals, and so 
on. And finally, it may be that even in the earliest stages 
of its life genital impulses, although themselves still hidden 
from view, are already exerting a restraining influence upon 
its -sadistic ones and are assisting to lessen the force with 
which they would otherwise express themselves against its 
external object. As far as can be seen, there exists in the small 
child, side by side with its relations to real objects but on a 
different plane as it were, relations which are based on its 
relations to its unreal imagos both as excessively good and 
excessively bad figures. Ordinarily, these two kinds of 
object-relations intermingle and colour each other to an 
ever increasing extent. (This is the process which I have 
described as an interaction between super-ego formation 
and object-relations.) But in the mind of the quite small 
child its real objects and its imaginary ones are still widely 
separated; and this may in part account for its not ex- 
hibiting as much sadism and anxiety towards its real ob- 
jects as would be expected from the character of its 

As we know, and as Abraham especially has pointed 
out, the nature of the child's object-relations and character- 
formation is very strongly determined by whether its pre- 
dominant fixations are situated in the oral-sucking stage 
or in the oral-sadistic one. In my opinion this factor is 
decisive for the formation of the super-ego as well. The 
introjection of a kindly mother leads to the setting up of 
a friendly father-imago, owing to the equation of breast 
with penis. 1 In the construction of the super-ego, too, fixa- 
tions in the oral-sucking stage will counteract the terrify- 

1 Abraham writes, in *A Short Study of the Development of the Libido* 
(1924), p. 490: * Another point to be noted in regard to the part of the body 
that has been introjected is that the penis is regularly assimilated to the female 
breast, and that other parts of the body, such as the finger, the foot, hair, faeces and 
buttocks, can be made to stand for those two organs in a secondary -way, . . .* 


ing identifications which are made under the supremacy 
of oral-sadistic impulses. 

As the sadistic tendencies of the child diminish, the 
threats made by his super-ego become somewhat reduced 
in violence and the reactions of his ego also undergo a 
change. Hitherto the excessive fear of his super-ego and 
objects which has dominated the earliest stages of his life 
has called out proportionately violent reactions in his ego. 
It would seem that the ego tries to defend itself at first 
against the super-ego by scotomizing it to use Laforgue's 
word and then by ejecting it. As soon as it attempts to 
outwit the super-ego and reduce the latter's opposition to 
the id-impulses, 1 it is, I think, beginning to react in a way 
which takes cognizance of the power of the super-ego. As 
the later anal stage sets in, the ego recognizes tjiat power 
ever more clearly and is led to make progressive attempts 
to come to terms with it. This recognition brings with it 
a recognition of the necessity of obeying the commands of 
the super-ego. 

The behaviour of the ego to the id, which in a some- 
what earlier stage has been one of ejection, becomes in the 
later anal stage one of suppression or rather, of repres- 
sion in the true sense of the word. 2 At the same time the 
amount of hatred it feels towards the object is lessened, 
since much of that hatred is derived from what was once 
attached to the super-ego and the id. The increase of the 
libidinal components and the concomitant diminution of 
the destructive ones also serve to moderate the primary 
sadistic tendencies that were directed to the object. When 
this happens the ego seems to become more conscious of 
its fear of suffering retribution at the hands of its object. 
It thus acknowledges the power of the object in addition 

1 In his Psychoanalyse der Gesamtpersonlichkeit (1927) Alexander has pointed 
out that the id in a sense corrupts the super-ego and that this 'understanding* 
between them enables it to carry out its forbidden actions. 

* In his Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1926) Freud says: 'Nevertheless, we 
must bear in mind for future consideration the possibility that repression is a 
process which has a special relation to the genital organization of the libido, and 
that the ego uses other methods of defence for warding off the libido on different 
levels of its organization. , . .' 


to submitting to, and accepting the prohibitions of, a 
severe super-ego. Its acceptance of external reality 1 is thus 
dependent upon its acceptance of intra-psychic reality, the 
more so as its endeavour is to make the super-ego and the 
object converge. A convergence of this kind is a further 
step in the direction of modifying anxiety, and, assisted by 
mechanisms of projection and displacement, goes along 
with a development of the individual's relationship to 
reality. The principal method which the ego adopts for 
overcoming anxiety at this point is to try to satisfy both 
external and internalized objects* This induces it to ensure 
the safety of its objects a reaction which Abraham has 
allocated to the later anal stage. 

This changed method of behaviour towards the object 
may show itself in two ways: the individual may turn away 
from it, on account of his fear of it as a source of danger 
and also in order to shield it from his own sadistic im- 
pulses; or he may turn towards it with greater positive 
feeling, An object-relation of this kind is brought about 
by a splitting up of the mother-imago into a good and 
a bad one. The ambivalence of the individual towards 
his object not only represents a further step in the de- 
velopment of his object-relations but is a mechanism of 
fundamental importance for overcoming his fear of his 
super-ego by distributing it, after having directed it out- 
wards, over a number of objects, so that certain ones stand 
for the object which he has attacked and which therefore 
threatens him with danger, and others, especially his 
mother, signify the kindly, protecting person. 

As the individual advances to the genital stage and his 
introjected imagos become more friendly, his super-ego 
changes its mode of behaviour, and the process of over- 
coming anxiety becomes increasingly successful. When 
the hitherto overpowering threats of the super-ego become 
toned down into admonitions and reproaches, the ego can 

1 In his 'Problem of the Acceptance of Unpleasant Ideas* (1926) Ferenczi 
remarks that knowledge of external reality goes along with knowledge of 
psychological reality. 


find support against them in its positive relationships. 
It can now employ restitutive mechanisms and reaction- 
formations of pity towards its objects so as to placate 
the super-ego; 1 and the love and recognition it receives 
from those objects and the external world are regarded 
as at once a guarantee and a measure of the approval of 
the super-ego. It is here, too, that the mechanism of dis- 
tributing the imagos is important; for while the ego turns 
away from the dangerous object, it tries to make good on 
the friendly one the imaginary injuries it has done. 

The process of sublimation can now set in, for the 
restitutive tendencies of the individual towards his object 
are a fundamental motive force in all his sublimations, 
even his very earliest ones, such as quite primitive mani- 
festations of the impulse to play* 2 A pre-condition for the 
development of restitutive tendencies and of sublimations 
is that the pressure exerted by the super-ego should be 
mitigated and felt by the ego as a sense of guilt. The quali- 
tative changes which the super-ego begins to undergo as 
a result of the growing strength of the individual's genital 
impulses and object-relations cause it to behave in a differ- 
ent way to the ego, so that true feelings of guilt arise 
in the latter. But should such feelings become too over- 
powering they will once more affect the ego principally as 
anxiety. 3 If this line of thought is correct, then it would 
be not a deficiency in the super-ego but a qualitative 
difference in it that gives rise to a lack of social feeling 
in certain individuals, notably in criminals and so-called 
'asocial' persons. 4 

1 In his paper, *Uber das MitleicT (1930), Jekels shows that the person who 
feels compassion for his object treats it as he would like to be treated by his own 

* Cf. my paper, 'Infantile Anxiety-Situations Reflected in a Work of Art 1 

Ella Sharpe has shown that in sublimation the child projects its introjected 
parents on to an external object upon whom it gratifies its sadistic and restitutive 
tendencies and with whom it thus connects its feelings of magical omnipotence. 
(Cf. her paper, 'Certain Aspects of Sublimation and Delusion* (1930). 

* Cf. also Ernest Jones's contribution to this subject, Tear, Guilt and Hate* 

* In his paper, 'Identifizierung 1 (1926), Fenichel also takes this view. 


In my view, in the earlier anal stage the child is making 
a defence against the terrifying images which it has intro- 
jected in the oral-sadistic phase. In ejecting its super-ego 
it is beginning to try to overcome its anxiety. But the 
attempt is not as yet successful, because the anxiety to be 
overcome is still too powerful and because the method of 
violent ejection continually arouses fresh anxiety. The 
anxiety which cannot be allayed in this way urges the 
child to cathect the next highest level of the libido the 
later anal stage and thus acts as a promoting agency in 
its development. 

We know that in the adult individual super-ego and 
object by no means coincide; nor do they do so, as I have 
tried to show, at any time in his childhood. I believe that 
the efforts his ego makes, in consequence of this discrep- 
ancy, to make his real objects interchangeable with his 
imagos of them constitute a fundamental factor in his 
development. 1 The smaller the discrepancy is the more 
his imagos approximate to his real objects as his genital 
stage takes the lead and the imaginary, terrifying imagos 
which have been taken over in the earliest stages of his 
life recede into the background the more stable is his 
mental equilibrium and the more successful has he been 
in modifying his early anxiety-situations. As the genital 
impulses gradually gain in strength, the suppression of the 
id by the ego loses much of its violence, too, so that there 
is less friction between the two. Thus the more positive 
object-relationship which goes along with the advent of 
the genital stage may also be regarded as a sign of a satis- 
factory relation between super-ego and ego and between 
ego and id. 

We have already been told that the fixation-points for 
the psychoses are to be found in the earliest stages of de- 
velopment and that the boundary between the earlier and 
later anal stage forms the line of demarcation between 
psychosis and neurosis. I am inclined to go a step further 

1 The importance of this factor for the development of the ego and for its 
relationship to reality is examined at greater length in Chapter X. 


and regard those fixation-points as points of departure not 
only for subsequent illnesses but for disturbances which 
the child undergoes during the earliest stages of its life. 
In the last chapter we have seen that the too powerful 
anxiety-situations that arise in the phase of maximal sad- 
ism are a fundamental aetiological factor in psychotic dis- 
orders. 1 But in the earliest phases of their development 
normal children too, I have found, go through anxiety- 
situations which are psychotic in character. If, whether for 
external or internal reasons, those early situations are acti- 
vated in a high degree, the child will exhibit psychotic 
traits. 2 And if it is too hard pressed by its fear-arousing 
imagos and cannot sufficiently counteract them with the 
aid of its helpful imagos and its real objects, it is exposed 
to disturbances which are similar to the psychosis of the 
adult and which are often prolonged into a regular psy- 
chosis in later life, or else form the basis of severe illnesses 
or other impairments of development. 2 But since in child- 
hood anxiety-situations of that kind invariably come into 
operation at one time or another and reach a certain inten- 
sity, every child will at some time or other produce psy- 
chotic symptoms. 

For instance, the change between excessive high spirits 
and extreme wretchedness, which is a characteristic of 
melancholic disorders, is regularly found in children. The 
real extent and depth of theunhappiness children feel is not 
taken into full account, just because it is of such frequent 
occurrence and undergoes such rapid changes. But analytic 
observation has taught me that their unhappiness and de- 
pression, though not so acute as the melancholic depres- 
sion of the adult, have the same causes and can be accom- 
panied by thoughts of suicide. The minor and major acci- 
dents that befall children and the hurts they do themselves 
are often, I have found, attempts at suicide, undertaken 
with as yet insufficient means. Then, too, they exhibit some 

1 Cf. my paper, 'Personification in the Play of Children* (1929). 
* The reader will recall the cases of Erna (Chapter III.), Egon (Chapter IV.) 
and Ilse (Chapter V.). * J B ^ v j 


degree of that exclusion of reality which we take as a 
criterion of psychosis in the adult, though in their case we 
still look upon it as normal up to a point. Paranoid traits 
are much less easy to observe in them, from being associ- 
ated with that secrecy and dissimulation which is typical of 
the disorder; and yet we know that small children feel 
themselves hemmed in and pursued by phantastic figures. 
In analysing some quite young children I have found that 
when they were alone, especially at night, the feeling they 
had of being surrounded by all sorts of persecutors like 
sorcerers, witches, devils, phantastic forms and animals 1 and 
their anxiety in regard to them had a paranoid character. 

Infantile neuroses present a composite picture made up 
of the various psychotic and neurotic traits and mechan- 
isms which we find singly and in a more or less pure form 
in grown-up persons. Sometimes the features of this dis- 
order, sometimes of that, are more strongly emphasized ; 
but in many instances the scene is completely obscured by 
the fact that the various affections, together with the de- 
fences employed against them, are all at work at the same 

In his bookjHetnmung, Symptom und Angst (1926), Freud 
declares that 'the earliest phobias of children have so far 
found no explanation whatever*, and that 'their relation to 
the later and obvious neuroses of childhood is in no way 
clear' (5*77). I believe that those early phobias contain 
anxiety arising in the early stages of the formation of the 
super-ego. The earliest anxiety-situations of the child ap- 
pear round about the middle of the first year of its life and 
are brought on by an increase of sadism. They consist of 
fears of violent (*,<?. devouring, cutting, castrating) objects a 
both external and introjected; and such fears cannot be 
modified in an adequate degree at such an early stage. 

The difficulties small children often have in eating are 
also closely connected, according to my experience, with 
their earliest anxiety-situations and invariably have para- 

1 The child's belief in imaginary, helpful figures, such as fairies or Father 
Christmas, helps it to conceal and overcome its fear of its bad imagos. 


noid origins. In the cannibalistic phase children equate 
every kind of food with their objects, as represented by 
their organs, so that it takes on the significance of their 
father's penis and their mother's breast and is loved, hated 
and feared like these. Liquid foods are likened to milk, 
faeces, urine and semen, and solid foods to faeces and other 
substances of the body. Thus food is able to give rise to 
all those fears of being poisoned and destroyed inside 
which children feel in relation to their internalized objects 
and excrements if their early anxiety-situations are strongly 

Infantile animal phobias are an expression of early 
anxiety of this kind. They are based on that ejection of the 
terrifying super-ego which is characteristic of the earlier 
anal stage, and thus represent a process, made up of several 
moves, whereby the child modifies its fear of its terrifying 
super-ego and id. The first move is to thrust out those two 
institutions into the external world and assimilate the super- 
ego to the real object. The second move is familiar to us 
as the displacement on to an animal of the fear felt of the 
real father. But before it there is often an intermediate step 
which consists of choosing as the anxiety-object in the ex- 
ternal world a milder kind of animal in place of the wild 
and ferocious beasts which, in the earliest stages of ego- 
development, stood for the super-ego and the id. The 
fact that the anxiety-animal not only attracts to itself the 
child's fear of its father but also its admiration of him is a 
sign that the process of ideal-formation is taking place. 1 
Animal phobias are already a far-reaching modification of 
the fear of the super-ego ; and we see here what a close 

1 Abraham told me the following story as a good example of how a small 
child's hatred of an animal could already contain a fear of being reproved by it. 
He had given a picture-book to a small relative of his, a boy of not yet one and 
a half years of age, and was showing him the p'ctures and reading the text 
aloud to him. On one page there was a picture of a pig who was telling a small 
child to be clean. The words, and the picture too, obviously displeased the boy, 
for he wanted to turn the page over at once, and when Abraham later on 
returned to the picture he would not look at it. Later on Abraham learnt that 
though the boy was very fond of the picture-book he could not bear the page 
with the pig on it. In telling me this story Abraham added: 'His super-ego 
must at that time have been a pig'. 


connection there is between super-ego, object-relationship 
and animal phobias. 

In his Hemmung^ Symptom und Angst Freud writes: *I 
thought at one time that a phobia had the character of a 
projection, in the sense that an inner instinctual danger 
was replaced by a danger perceived as coming from with- 
out. This brings with it the advantage that the subject can 
protect himself from external danger by running away 
from it or by avoiding the perception of it; whereas no 
flight can help against an internal danger. But this view, 
though not incorrect, is too superficial. An instinctual urge 
is after all not a danger in itself, but only in so far as it 
brings a real external danger with it, /.<?. the danger of 
castration. Ultimately, therefore, a phobia is simply a 
matter of substituting one external danger for another' 
(S. 66, 67). But I venture to think that what lies at the 
root of a phobia is nevertheless an internal danger. It is 
the person's fear of his own destructive instinct and of his 
introjected parents. In the same passage, in describing the 
advantages of substitutive formations, Freud tells us that 
The fear belonging to a phobia is after all conditioned. It 
is only felt when the feared object is perceived, and rightly 
so, for it is only then that the danger-situation arises. There 
is no need to be afraid of being castrated by a father who 
is not there. But a father is something that cannot be got 
rid of. He appears whenever he wants to. But if the child 
replaces him by an animal, it has only to avoid the sight, 
i.e. the presence, of that animal to be free from danger and 
anxiety/ Such an advantage would be even greater if by 
means of an animal phobia the ego could not only bring 
about a displacement from one external object to another 
but also a projection of a much feared object, from which, 
because internalized, there was no escape, on to another, 
external one. Regarded in this light, an animal phobia 
would be much more than a mere distortion of the idea 
of being castrated by the father into one of being bitten 
by a horse or eaten by a wolf, Underlying it would be not 
only the fear of being castrated but a still earlier fear of 


being devoured by the super-ego, so that the phobia would 
actually be a modification of anxiety belonging to the 
earliest stages. 

As an illustration of what I mean let us take two well- 
known cases of an animal phobia that of Little Hans and 
that of the Wolf Man. Freud has pointed out that in spite 
of certain similarities these two phobias differ from one 
another in many respects. As regards the differences, we 
observe that Little Hans's phobia contained many traits 
of positive feeling. His anxiety-animal was not a terrifying 
one in itself, and he felt a certain amount of friendliness 
towards it, as was shown by his playing at horses with his 
father just before his phobia came on. His relation to his 
parents and to his environment was on the whole very 
good; and his general development showed that he had 
successfully surmounted the anal-sadistic stage and at- 
tained the genital stage. His animal phobia exhibited only 
a few traces of that type of anxiety which belongs to the 
earliest stages, in which the super-ego is equated with a 
wild and terrifying animal and the child's fear of its object 
is correspondingly intense. In the main he seemed to have 
overcome and modified that early anxiety quite well. Freud 
says of him, 'Hans seems to have been a normal boy, with 
a so-called positive Oedipus complex', 1 so that his infantile 
neurosis may be regarded as a mild, even 'normal' one; 
his anxiety, as we know, was readily dissipated by a short 
piece of analysis. 

The neurosis of the so-called Wolf Man, a four-year- 
old boy, presents quite a different picture. The develop- 
ment of this boy cannot be described as normal. To quote 
Freud again: c . . . an early seduction had disturbed his 
relationship to the female object. His passive feminine side 
was strongly accentuated, and analysis of his wolf-dream 
shows little intentional aggression against his father, whereas 
it brings forward quite definite evidence that what was re- 
pressed was a tender, passive attitude towards him. The 
first-mentioned factors may have played a part, but they 

1 Hemmung Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 46. 


are not observable/ 1 The boy's analysis showed that his 
idea of being devoured by his father was *the expression, 
exposed to a regressive degradation, of a passive, tender 
desire towards his father aiming at being loved by him in 
a genital erotic way'. 2 Regarded in the light of our previous 
discussion, this idea is seen not only to express a passive 
tender yearning which has been degraded by regres- 
sion, but, over and above this, to be a relic of a very early 
stage of development. 3 If we look upon the boy's fear of 
being devoured by a wolf not only as a substitute by dis- 
tortion for the idea of being castrated by his father, but, 
as I would suggest, as a primary anxiety which has per- 
sisted in an unchanged form along with later, modified 
versions of it, then it would follow that there had been a 
fear of the father active in him which must have greatly 
helped to shape the course of his abnormal development. 
In the phase of maximal sadism ushered in by the oral- 
sadistic instincts, the child's desire to introject his father's 
penis, together with his intense oral-sadistic, hostile im- 
pulses, give rise to fears of a dangerous, devouring beast 
which he equates with his father's penis. How far he can 
succeed in overcoming and modifying this fear of his 
father will in part depend on the magnitude of his destruct- 
ive tendencies. The Wolf Man did not overcome this 
early anxiety. His fear of the wolf, which stood for his 
fear of his father, showed that, he had retained the image 
of his father as a devouring wolf in subsequent years. For, 
as we know, he rediscovered this wolf in his later father- 
imagos, and his whole development was governed by that 
overwhelming fear. 4 

* Ibid. S. 46. Ibid. S. 44. 

* It seems to me important not merely from a theoretical point of view, but 
from a therapeutic one as well, to decide whether at the outbreak of the child's 
neurosis his idea of being devoured was receiving a regressive cathexis only, or 
whether it had retained its original activity side by side with later modifications; 
for we are concerned not only with the content of an idea but, above all, with 
the anxiety attached to it. We cannot fully understand such an anxiety, either 
in its quantitative or its qualitative aspect, until we have recognized it as an 
anxiety which underlie* neurosis and is specific for psychosis. 

4 Cf. Ruth Mack Brunswick, *A Supplement to Freud's "History of an 
Obsessional Neurosis** 


In my view, this enormous fear of his father was an 
underlying factor in the production of his inverted Oedipus 
complex. In analysing several highly neurotic boys, of 
between four and fiveyears of age, 1 who exhibited paranoid 
traits and in whom the inverted Oedipus complex was 
predominant, I became convinced that this course of de- 
velopment was greatly determined by an excessive fear of 
their father, which was still active in the deepest mental 
layers and which had been generated by extremely strong 
primary impulses of aggression against him. Against a 
dangerous, devouring father of this sort they could not 
engage in the struggle which would naturally result from 
a direct Oedipus attitude, and so they had to abandon their 
heterosexual position. I think that the Wolf Man's passive 
attitude towards his father was founded on anxiety-situa- 
tions of this order too, and that his sister's seduction 
of him merely served to strengthen and confirm him 
in the attitude to which his fear of his father had led 

We are told that 'after the decisive dream he had been 
very naughty, and had tried to annoy everyone and be- 
haved in a sadistic way', and that soon after he developed a 
genuine obsessional neurosis which turned out in analysis 
to be a very severe one. These facts seem to bear out my 
view that even at the time of his wolf phobia he was en- 
gaged in warding off his aggressive tendencies. 2 That in 
Hans's phobia his defence against the aggressive impulses 
should be so clearly visible while in that of the Wolf Man 
it should be so deeply concealed, seems to me to be ex- 
plained by the fact that in the latter the much greater 
anxiety- or primary sadism had been dealt with in a far 
more abnormal way. And the fact that Hans's neurosis 
showed no obsessional traits, whereas the Wolf Man 
quickly developed a regular obsessional neurosis, agrees 
with my idea that if obsessional features appear too 

1 My analyses of adults have corroborated these findings. 

1 In the last passage quoted above, Freud seems to leave open the possibility 
that a defence against sadistic impulses may also have played a part, though 
not a manifest one, in the structure of the Wolf Man's illness. 


strongly and too early in an infantile neurosis we must 
infer that very serious disturbances are going on. 1 

In those analyses of boys on which my present conclu- 
sions are based, I was able to trace their abnormal develop- 
ment back to an over-strong sadism, or rather to sadism 
which had not been successfully modified and which had 
led to excessive anxiety in a very early stage of life. The 
result of this had been a very extensive exclusion of reality 
and the production of severe obsessional and paranoid 
traits. The reinforcement of the libidinal impulses and 
homosexual components that took place in these boys 
served to ward off and modify the fear of their father which 
had been aroused so early in them. This mode of dealing 
with anxiety is, I think, a fundamental aetiological factor 
in the homosexuality of paranoics, 2 and the fact that the 
Wolf Man developed paranoia in later life tends to support 
my view. 3 

In his The Ego and the Id( 1923), in speaking about the love- 
relations of the paranoic, Freud seems to bear out my line 
of thought. He says: 'There is another possible mechan- 
ism, however, which we have come to know of by analytic 
investigation of the processes concerned in the change in 
paranoia. An ambivalent attitude is present from the out- 
set and the transformation is effected by means of a re- 
active shifting of cathexis, by which energy is withdrawn 
from the erotic impulses and used to supplement the 
hostile energy' (p. 60). In the Wolf Man's phobia un- 
modified anxiety belonging to the earliest stages was 
clearly to be seen, I think. At the same time his object- 
relations were much less successful than those of Little 
Hans; and that his genital stage was weakly established 
and the influence of anal-sadistic impulses too strong was 

1 Cf. Chapter VI. on this point. 

* In Chapter III., in discussing a case with paranoid traits, I have tried to 
establish a similar theory of the origin of female homosexuality. The reader may 
also remember what was said in connection with Egpn's analysis (Chapter IV.). 
I shall return to the subject in Chapter XII. Robeim comes to the same con- 
clusion on the basis of his ethnological data (cf. his paper, 'Psycho-Analysis and 
the Folk-Tale', 1922). 

3 Cf. Ruth Mack Brunswick, op. cit. 



evident from the severe obsessional neurosis that so soon 
made its appearance. It would appear that Little Hans 
had been better able to modify his threatening and terrible 
super-ego into a less dangerous imago and to overcome 
his sadism and anxiety. His greater success in this respect 
also found expression in his more positive object-relation- 
ship to both his parents and in the fact that in him the 
active and heterosexual attitude was the predominating 
one and that he had satisfactorily attained the genital stage 
of development. 1 

Let us briefly summarize what has been said about the 
evolution of phobias. In the suckling the earliest anxiety- 
situations find expression in certain phobias. In the earlier 
anal stage, with its animal phobias, objects of an intensely 
terrifying nature are still involved. In the later anal stage, 
and still more in the genital stage, these anxiety objects 
are greatly modified. 

The process of modification of a phobia is, I believe, 
linked with those mechanisms upon which the obsessional 
neuroses are based and which begin to be active in the later 
anal stage. It seems to me that obsessional neurosis is an 
attempt to cure the psychotic conditions which underlie it, 
and that in infantile neuroses both obsessional mechan- 
isms and mechanisms belonging to a previous stage of 
development are already operative. 2 

At first glance it would seem that this idea that certain 
elements of obsessional neurosis play an important role 
in the clinical picture presented by infantile neuroses 
is at variance with what Freud has said concerning the 
starting-point of obsessional neurosis. Nevertheless, I be- 
lieve that the disagreement can be explained away in one 
important point at least. It is true that according to my 

1 Li his Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1926) Freud says: 'A case like Little 
Hans's does not help us to arrive at any decision. Here an aggressive impulse 
is dealt with by repression, it is true, but not until the genital organization has 
already been reached* (S. 65). 

1 Obsessional neurosis is only one of the methods of cure attempted by the 
ego in order to overcome this early infantile psychotic anxiety. Another method 
will be discussed in Chapter XII. 


findings the origins of obsessional neurosis lie in the first 
period of childhood; but the isolated obsessional traits 
which emerge in that period are not organized into that 
whole which we regard as an obsessional neurosis until the 
second period of childhood, that is, until the beginning of 
the latency period. The accepted theory is that fixations at 
the anal-sadistic stage do not come into force as factors in 
obsessional neurosis until later on, as the result of a regres- 
sion to them. My view is that the true point of departure 
for obsessional neurosis the point at which the child de- 
velops obsessional symptoms and obsessional mechanisms 
is situated in that period of life which is governed by 
the later anal stage. The fact that this early obsessional ill- 
ness presents a somewhat different picture from the later 
full-blown obsessional neurosis is understandable if we re- 
collect that it is not until later, in the latency period, that 
the more mature ego, with its altered relationship to reality, 
sets to work to elaborate and synthesize those obsessional 
features which have been active since early childhood, 1 
Another reason why the obsessional traits of the small 
child are often not easily discernible is that they do not 
stand out so clearly in the general picture presented by an 
infantile neurosis as compared to an adult one, owing to 
the obtrusion of other earlier disorders which have not yet 
been overcome and of the various defensive mechanisms 
that are still being employed against them. 

Nevertheless, as I have tried to show, even quite young 
children frequently exhibit symptoms of a distinctly ob- 
sessional type, and there exist infantile neuroses in which 
a true obsessional neurosis already dominates the picture. 2 

1 We shall consider these changes in greater detail In Chapter X,, where I 
have tried to show that in the latency period the child is enabled ^by its obsessional 
neurosis to meet the requirements or its ego, super-ego and id, whereas at an 
earlier age, when its ego is still immature, it is not as yet able to master its 
anxiety in this way. 

* Cf. Chapter VI., and also the case of Rita (Chapter III.), who came to analysis 
when she was two and three-quarter years old and already had a number of 
marked obsessional symptoms, chief among which were a complicated bed- 
ceiemonial and an exaggerated love of order and cleanliness. The latter found 
expression in a great many habits that betrayed the obsessional bent of her 
character and the way in which it pervaded bier whole personality. Moreover, 


When this is the case it means that the early anxiety-situa- 
tions are too powerful and have not been sufficiently modi- 
fied and that the obsessional neurosis is a very grave 

In thus distinguishing between the early emergence of 
single obsessional traits and, later, true obsessional neu- 
roses I have, I hope, been able to bring the view put for- 
ward here concerning the genesis of obsessional neurosis 
more into line with the accepted theory. In his Hemmung, 
Symptom und Angst Freud says that *the point of departure 
of obsessional neurosis is the necessary defence against 
the libidinal demands arising from the Oedipus complex', 
and that *the genital organization of the libido is a feeble 
one and has too little power of resistance. When the ego 
begins its defensive struggle, the first effect is to throw the 
genital organization (of the phallic stage) back, in part or 
altogether, on to the earlier anal-sadistic stage. This regres- 
sion is decisive for everything which follows 5 (S. 47). If we 
regard as a regression that fluctuation between the various 
libidinal positions which is, in my opinion, a characteristic 
of the early stages of development and in which the already 
cathected genital position is continually being abandoned 
for a time until it has been properly strengthened and 
established, and if my contention that the Oedipus situa- 
tion begins very early is correct, then the view here main- 
tained about the point of departure of the obsessional neu- 
rosis would not only not be in contradiction with Freud's 
view as quoted above, but would go to bear out another 
suggestion of his which he has only put forward quite 
tentatively. He says: 'Perhaps regression is the result not 
of a constitutional factor but of a temporal one, and is made 
possible not because the genital organization of the libido 
is too weak but because the struggle of the ego has begun 

these habits were already of long standing. Her bed-ceremonial, for instance, 
had begun some time in her second year and had steadily grown ever since. Erna 
(Chapter IIL), who came to me at the age of six, had certain obsessional symptoms 
which also went back to the end of her second year. In this rery severe case 
the neurosis very early on showed many similarities with an adult obsessional 


too soon, while the sadistic phase is still at its height*. 1 In 
arguing against this idea he continues: 'Although I do not 
trust myself to make a definite pronouncement on this 
point either, I may say that analytic observation does not 
favour such a supposition. It tends to show that the indi- 
vidual does not enter upon an obsessional neurosis until 
after he has attained the phallic stage. Moreover, the age 
at which this neurosis breaks out is later than in hysteria, 
falling as it does in the second period of childhood after 
the latency period has set in. . . / 2 These objections 
would in part be overcome if we adopt the view put 
forward here that obsessional neurosis has its point of 
departure in the first period of childhood but does not 
set in in its full form till the beginning of the latency 

The view that obsessional mechanisms begin to come 
into action very early in childhood, towards the end of the 
second year, is part of my general thesis that the super-ego 
is formed in the earliest stages of the child's life, being first 
felt by the ego as anxiety and then, as the early anal- 
sadistic stage gradually comes to a close, as a sense of guilt 
as well. This thesis once more differs from orthodox theory. 
In the first part of this book I have given the empirical data 
upon which it is based; now I should like to adduce a 
theoretical reason in support of it. To turn to Freud once 
more. 'The motive force of all later symptom-formations', 
he writes, 'is here' (in obsessional neurosis) 'clearly the fear 
felt by the ego towards the super-ego.' 3 My contention 
that obsessional neurosis is a means of modifying early 
anxiety-situations and that the severe super-ego which 
figures in it is no other than the unmodified, terrifying 
super-ego belonging to early stages of the child's develop- 
ment, brings us, I think, nearer to a solution of the prob- 
lem of why the super-ego should in fact be such a severe 
one in this neurosis. 

The child's feelings of guilt which are bound up with 

1 Hemmungy Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 53. 
2 Loc. cit. 8 Ibid., S, 69. 


its urethral- and anal-sadistic tendencies are derived, I have 
found, from the imaginary attacks it makes on its mother's 
body during the phase of maximal sadism. 1 In early analysis 
we get to know the child's fear of its unkind mother who 
demands back from it the faeces and children it has stolen 
from her. Thus the real mother (or nurse) who makes de- 
mands of cleanliness upon it becomes at once a terrifying 
person to it, one who not only insists upon its giving up 
its faeces, but, as its terrified imagination tells it, who in- 
tends to tear them by force out of its body. Another, yet 
more overwhelming, source of fear arises from its intro- 
jected imagos from whom, in virtue of its own destructive 
phantasies directed against external objects, it anticipates 
attacks of an equally savage kind inside itself. 

In this phase, in consequence of likening excrement 
with dangerous substances which poison and burn and 
with weapons of offence of every kind, the child becomes 
terrified of its own excreta as something which will de- 
stroy its body. This sadistic equation of excreta with 
destructive substances, together with its phantasies of at- 
tacks undertaken with their help, furthermore lead the 
child to fear that attacks by similar means may be made 
against it both by its external and its internal objects and 
to feel a terror of excreta and of dirt in general. These 
sources of anxiety, all the more overwhelming because they 
are so manifold, are, in my experience, the deepest causes 
of the child's feelings of anxiety and guilt in connection 
with its training in cleanliness. 

The child's reaction-formations of disgust, order arid 
cleanliness arise, therefore, from the anxiety, fed from 

1 The generally accepted view, that what happens is that the sense of guilt 
which is aroused in the genital stage is associated by regression with training in 
cleanliness, does not take into account the severity of the feelings of guilt in 
question nor the closeness of their union with the pre-genital trends. The per- 
manent impression made on the adult by his early training and the way in which 
it influences the whole of his later development as we see over and over again 
in analyses of grown-up persons points to the existence of a deeper and more 
direct connection between that early training and severe feelings of guilt. In 
his 'Psycho-Analysis of Sexual Habits* (1925) Ferenczi suggests that there is a 
more direct connection between the two and that there may be a. kind of 
physiological precursor of the super-ego which he calls 'sphincter morality*. 


various sources, which originates in its earliest danger- 
situations. Its reactive feelings of pity come more especi- 
ally to the fore, as we know, at the beginning of the second 
anal stage, when its relations to its objects have developed, 
In this stage, moreover, as we have already seen, the 
approval of its objects is also a guarantee of safety and a 
safeguard against destruction from without and from 
within, and their restoration is a necessary condition for 
the intactness of its own body. 1 The anxiety belonging to 
the early danger-situations is, as I think, closely associated 
with the beginnings of obsessions and obsessional neuroses. 
It is concerned with manifold injuries and acts of destruc- 
tion done inside the body, and therefore it is inside the 
body that restitution has to be made. But the child cannot 
know anything for certain about the inside of the body, 
whether its own or that of its objects. It cannot ascertain 
how far its fear of internal injuries and attacks is well 
founded, nor how far it has succeeded in making them 
good by means of its obsessional acts. The consequent 
state of uncertainty it is in becomes allied to, and increases, 
its intense anxiety and gives rise to an obsessive desire 
for knowledge. It tries to overcome its anxiety, whose 
imaginary nature defies critical inspection, by laying extra 
emphasis upon reality, by being over-precise, and so on. 
Thus we see that the doubt which results from this un- 
certainty plays a part not only in creating an obsessional 
character, but in arousing inclinations towards exactness 
and order and towards the observance of certain rules and 
rituals, etc. 2 

1 The view that reaction-formations and feelings of guilt set in at a very early 
period of ego-development as early as in the second year is supported by 
Abraham in one or two passages. In his 'Short Study of the Development of th* 
Libido' (1924) he says: *In the stage of narcissism with a cannibalistic sexual 
aim the first evidence of an instinctual inhibition appears in the shape of morbid 
anxiety. The process of overcoming the cannibalistic impulses is intimately 
associated with a sense of guilt which comes into the foreground as a typical 
inhibitory phenomenon belonging to the third stage* (p. 496). 

1 In his "Notes upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis* (1909) Freud remarks: 
'The compulsion, on the other hand, is an attempt at a compensation for the 
doubt and at a correction of the intolerable conditions of inhibition to which the 
doubt bears witness* (p. 378). 


Another element which belongs to the anxiety arising 
from early anxiety-situations and which has an important 
bearing on the character of obsessions is its intensity and 
multiplicity multiplicity because of the many sources it 
springs from which produce a correspondingly strong 
impulsion to set the defensive mechanisms in motion. The 
child feels urged to clean and put together in an obsessive 
manner whatever it has dirtied or broken or spoiled in any 
way. It has to beautify and restore the damaged thing 
in all manner of ways in accordance with the variety 
of its sadistic phantasies and the details contained in 

The coercion which the obsessional neurotic often ap- 
plies to other people as well is, I should say, the result of 
a manifold projection. In the first place he is trying to 
throw off the intolerable compulsion under which he is 
suffering by treating his object as though it were his id or 
his super-ego and displacing upon it the coercion they 
exercise upon him. In doing this he is, incidentally, satisfy- 
ing his primary sadism by tormenting and subjugating his 
object. In the second place he is turning outward on to his 
external objects what is ultimately a fear of being de- 
stroyed or attacked by his introjected objects. This fear has 
aroused in him a compulsion to control and rule his imagos, 
and since he can never in fact do this he tries to tyrannize 
over his external objects instead. 

If I am correct in my view that the magnitude and 
intensity of obsessional activities and the severity of the 
neurosis are equivalent to the extent and character of the 
anxiety arising from the earliest danger-situations, we shall 
be in a better position to understand the close connection 
which we know to exist between paranoia and the severer 
forms of obsessional neurosis. According to Abraham, in 
paranoia the libido regresses to the earlier of the two anal- 
sadistic stages. From what I have been able to discover I 
should be inclined to go further and say that in the early 
anal-sadistic stage the individual, if his early anxiety-situa- 
tions are strongly operative, actually passes through rudi- 


mentary paranoid states which he normally overcomes in 
the next stage (the second anal-sadistic one), and that the 
severity of his obsessional illness depends on the severity 
of the paranoid disturbances that have immediately pre- 
ceded it. If his obsessional mechanisms cannot adequately 
overcome those disturbances his underlying paranoid traits 
will come to the surface, or he may even succumb to a 
regular paranoia. 

We know that the suppression of obsessive acts arouses 
anxiety and that therefore those acts serve the purpose of 
mastering anxiety. If we assume that the anxiety thus over- 
come belongs to the earliest anxiety-situations and culmin- 
ates in the child's fear of having its own body and that of 
its object destroyed in a number of ways, we shall, I be- 
lieve, be better able to understand the deeper meaning of 
many obsessive acts. The compulsive accumulation of 
things and giving away of them becomes more intelligible 
as soon as we are able to recognize more clearly the nature 
of the anxiety and sense of guilt which underlie an exchange 
of goods on the anal level. In play analysis compulsive 
taking and giving back again finds very diverse expression. 
It occurs, together with anxiety and guilt, as a reaction to 
representations of acts of theft and destruction. Children 
will, for instance, transfer the whole or part of the contents 
of one box to another and carefully arrange them there and 
preserve them with every show of anxiety, and will if they 
are old enough count them over one by one. The contents 
are very varied and include burnt matches, whose ash the 
child will often go to the trouble of rubbing off, paper 
patterns, pencils, bricks for building, bits of string and so 
on. They represent all the things the child has taken out 
of his mother's body his father's penis, children, pieces 
of stool, urine, milk, etc. He may behave in the same way 
with writing blocks, tearing out the leaves and preserving 
them carefully somewhere else. In consequence of his rising 
anxiety, putting back what he has symbolically taken out 
of his mother's body often does not satisfy his compulsion 
to give, or rather to restore. He is incessantly compelled, 


in all sorts of ways, to give back more than he has taken, 
and yet in doing so his primary sadistic tendencies con- 
tinually break through his reactive ones. 

For instance, my little patient John, aged five, a very 
neurotic child, developed in this stage of his analysis a 
counting mania a symptom which had not been much 
noticed, as it was such a usual occurrence at his age. In his 
analysis he used carefully to mark the position of his toy 
men and other playthings on a sheet of paper on which he 
had placed them, before transferring them on to another 
sheet. But he not only wanted to know exactly where they 
had been before, so as to be able to replace them in identic- 
ally the same place; he would also count them over and 
over again in order to make sure of the number of things 
(/.<?. the bits of faeces, his father's penis and the children) 
which he had taken (out of his mother's body) and which he 
had to give back. While he was doing this he would call me 
stupid and naughty and say: 'One can't take thirteen from 
ten or seven from two'. This fear of having to give back 
more than they possess is typical in children and can be ex- 
plained partly by the difference in size between them and 
grown-up people and partly by the greatness of their sense 
of guilt. They feel that they cannot give back out of their 
own small body all that they have taken out of their mother's 
body which is so huge in comparison ; and the weight of 
their guilt, which reproaches them ceaselessly with robbing 
and destroying their mother or both parents, strengthens 
their feeling of never being able to give back enough. The 
feeling of 'not knowing* which they have at a very early age 
adds considerably to their anxiety. This is a subject I should 
like to return to later on. 

Very often children will be interrupted in their repre- 
sentations of 'giving back' by having to go to the lavatory 
to defaecate. Another small patient of mine, also a five- 
year-old boy, used sometimes to have to go to the lavatory 
four or five times during his hour at this stage of his 
analysis. When he came back he would count obsessively, 
in order to convince himself by getting up to high numbers 


that he possessed enough to pay back what he had stolen. 
Viewed in this light, the anal-sadistic heaping up of posses- 
sions which seems to arise simply from the pleasure of 
amassing for its own sake takes on another aspect. Analyses 
of adults, too, have shown me that the wish to have ready 
a sum of money for any contingency is really a desire 
to be armed against an attack on the part of the mother 
they have robbed a mother who was as often as not in 
point of fact long since dead by being able to give her 
back what they have stolen. The fear of being deprived of 
the contents of their body compels them to be continu- 
ally accumulating more money so as to have 'reserves* to 
fall back on. For instance, after John and I had agreed 
that his fear of not being able to give his mother back all 
the stool and children he had stolen from her was obliging 
him to go on cutting things up and stealing them, he gave 
me further reasons why he could not restore everything he 
had taken. He said that his stool had melted away in the 
meanwhile; that, after all, he had been passing it out all 
the time, and even if he were to go on and on making new 
bits he couldn't ever make enough now. And, besides, he 
did not know if it would be 'good enough'. By 'good 
enough' he meant in the first instance equal in value to 
what he had stolen out of his mother's body. (Hence, by 
the way, his care in choosing the shapes and colours he 
used in his scenes of restitution.) But in a deeper sense it 
meant innocuous, free from poison. 1 On the other hand, his 
frequent constipation was due to his need of storing up his 
faeces and keeping them inside so that he should not him- 
self be empty. These many conflicting tendencies, of which 
I have only mentioned a few, aroused very severe anxiety 
in him. Whenever his fear was increased of not being able 
to produce the right kind of faeces or enough of them, or 
of not being able to repair what he had damaged, his 
primary destructive tendencies once more broke out in full 

1 In his paper, 'Fear, Guilt and Hate* (1929)9 Ernest Jones has pointed out 
that the word 'innocent* denotes *not hurting*, so that to be innocent means to 
do no harm. 


force and he would tear, cut to pieces and burn the things 
he had made when his reactive tendencies were upper- 
most the box which he had stuck together and filled up 
and which represented his mother, or the piece of paper 
on which he had drawn a plan of a town and his thirst for 
destruction would be insatiable. His behaviour at the same 
time brought out to the full the primitive sadistic signifi- 
cance of urinating and defaecating. Tearing, cutting up 
and burning paper, wetting things with water, smearing 
them with ashes or smudging with a pencil all these 
actions served the same destructive purposes. Wetting and 
smearing meant melting away, drowning or poisoning. 
Wet paper squashed into balls, for instance, represented 
especially poisonous missiles on account of being a mixture 
of urine and stool. The various details of his representa- 
tions showed that the sadistic significance attached to urin- 
ating and defaecating was the most deeply seated cause 
of his sense of guilt and underlay that impulse to make 
restitution which found expression in his obsessional 

The fact that an increase of anxiety will lead to a regres- 
sion to the defensive mechanisms of earlier stages shows 
how fateful is the influence exerted by the overwhelmingly 
powerful super-ego belonging to the earliest period of 
development. The pressure exerted by this early super-ego 
increases the sadistic fixations of the child, with the result 
that it has constantly to be repeating its original destruc- 
tive acts in a compulsive way. Its fear of not being able to 
put things right again arouses its still deeper fear of being 
exposed to the revenge of the objects whom, in its imagina- 
tion, it has killed and who keep on coming back again, and 
sets in motion the defensive mechanisms that belong to 
its earlier stages; for the person who cannot be placated 
or satisfied must be put away. The weak ego of the child 
cannot come to terms with such a savage and menacing 
super-ego, and it is not until a rather more advanced stage 
has been reached that its anxiety is also felt as a sense of 
guilt and sets the obsessional mechanisms in motion. One 


is amazed to discover that at this period of its analysis the 
child, in obeying its sadistic phantasies, is not only acting 
under an intense pressure of anxiety, but that the mastering 
of anxiety has become its greatest pleasure. 

Directly the child's anxiety increases, its desire for pos- 
session is overshadowed by its need to have the where- 
withal to meet the threats of its super-ego and objects, and 
becomes a desire to be able to give back. But this desire 
cannot be fulfilled if its anxiety and conflict are too great, 
and so we see the very neurotic child labouring under a 
constant compulsion to take in order to be able to give. 
(This psychological factor, it may be remarked, enters into 
all the functional disturbances of the bowels that we meet 
with and into many bodily ailments as well.) Conversely, 
as the violence of its anxiety decreases, its reactive tenden- 
cies also lose their character of violence and compulsion 
and become steadier in their application and make their 
effect felt in a more moderate and continuous way with 
less liability to interruption from destructive tendencies. 
And now the child's idea that the restoration of its own 
person depends on the restoration of its objects comes out 
more and more strongly. Its destructive tendencies have 
not, indeed, become inoperative, but they have lost their 
character of violence and have become more adaptable to 
the demands of the super-ego. And though they enter into 
the reaction-formations themselves into the second of 
the two successive stages of which the obsessional act is 
composed they yield more easily to the guidance of the 
super-ego and ego and are at liberty to pursue aims sanc- 
tioned by those institutions. 

There is, as we know, a close connection between ob- 
sessive acts and the 'omnipotence of thoughts'. Freud has 
pointed out that the primitive obsessive actions of back- 
ward peoples are essentially magical in character. He says : 
'If not magical, they are at least contra-magical and are 
intended to ward off the expectation of evil with which the 
neurosis is wont to begin'; and again: 'The protective 
formulae of obsessional neurosis have their counterpart, 


too, in magical incantations. In describing the evolution of 
obsessive actions we may note how they begin as magic 
against evil wishes, as far removed as possible from any- 
thing sexual, only to end up as a substitute for forbidden 
sexual activities which they imitate as faithfully as they 
can.' 1 From this we see that obsessive acts are a counter- 
magic, a shield against evil wishes (i.e. death-wishes), 2 and 
at the same time sexual acts. 

We should expect to find that these elements which have 
united in a defensive action would also be present in those 
phantasies and deeds which have aroused a sense of guilt 
in the first place and thus called that defensive action into 
being. A mixture of this kind of magic, evil wishes and 
sexual activities is to be found, I think, in a situation which 
has been described in detail in the last chapter in the 
masturbatory activities of the infant. I pointed out there 
that the masturbation phantasies which accompany the 
beginning of the Oedipus conflict are, like the Oedipus 
conflict itself, completely dominated by the sadistic instin cts, 
that they centre round copulation between the parents and 
are concerned with sadistic attacks on them, and that they 
thus become one of the deepest sources of the child's sense 
of guilt. And I came to the conclusion that it is the sense of 
guilt arising from destructive impulses directed against its 
parents which makes masturbation and sexual behaviour in 
general something wicked and forbidden to the child, so 
that its guilt is actually attached to its destructive instincts 
and not to its libidinal and incestuous ones. 3 

1 Totem und Tabu (1912), S. 108. 

1 Concerning the obsessional neurotic, Freud says, in Totem und Tabu (1912); 
*And yet his sense of guilt is justified; it is based upon the intense and frequent 
death-wishes which are unconsciously being aroused in him against his fellow- 
men" (S. 145). 

* In Chapter I. I have already pointed out the agreement between my own 
views on this subject and some conclusions that Freud has come to in his 
Ctwtization and its Discontents (1930). He says there; 'So then it is, after all, only 
the aggression which is changed into guilt, by being suppressed and made over 
to the super-ego. I am convinced that very many processes will admit of much 
simpler and clearer explanation if we restrict the findings of psycho-analysis in 
resjict of the^origin of the sense of guilt to the aggressive instincts* (p. 131). And 
again: 'One is now inclined to suggest the following statement as a possible 


The phase in which, according to my view, the Oedipus 
conflict and its accompanying sadistic masturbation phan- 
tasies begin is the phase of narcissism a phase in which 
the subject has, to quote Freud, '. . . a high estimation of 
his own psychic acts . . . what from our point of view is 
an overestimation of them'. 1 This phase is characterized 
by a sense of omnipotence on the part of the child in 
regard to the functions of its bladder and bowels and a 
consequent belief in the omnipotence of its thoughts. 2 As 
the result of this it feels guilty on account of the manifold 
assaults on its parents which it carries out in its imagina- 
tion. But this excess of guilt which results from a belief 
in the omnipotence of their excrements and thoughts is, 
I think, one of the very factors which cause neurotics and 
primitive peoples to retain or regress to their original 
feeling of omnipotence. When their sense of guilt sets in 
motion obsessive actions as a defence, they will employ 
that feeling for the purpose of making restitution. But they 
now have to sustain it in a compulsive and exaggerated 
way, for it is essential that the acts of restitution they make 
should be based on omnipotence, just as their original acts 
of destruction were. 

Freud has said: *It is hard to decide whether these first 
obsessive and protective actions follow the principle of 
similarity (or contrast), for within the framework of the 
neurosis they are usually distorted by displacement on to 
some trifle, some action which in itself is quite insig- 
nificant*. 3 Early analysis brings complete proof of the fact 
that the restitutive mechanisms are ultimately based on 
this principle of similarity (or contrast) both in degree and 
kind on every single point. If a child has retained very 

formulation: when an instinctual trend undergoes repression its libidinal ele- 
ments are transformed into symptoms and its aggressive components into a sense 
of guilt* (p. 152). 

1 Totem undTabu (1912), S. no. 

* Ferenczi has drawn attention, in his 'Stages in the Development of a Sense 
of Reality* (191 3), to the connection between anal functions and the omnipotence 
of words and gestures. Cf. also Abraham, "The Narcissistic Evaluation of 
Excretory Processes in Dreams and Neurosis* (1920). 

* Totem undTabu (1912), S. 108. 


strong primary feelings of omnipotence in association with 
its sadistic phantasies, it follows that it will have to have a 
very strong belief in the creative omnipotence that is to 
help it to make restitution. Analysis of children and adults 
shows very clearly how large a part this factor plays in 
promoting or inhibiting such constructive and reactive be- 
haviour. The subject's sense of omnipotence with regard 
to his ability to make restitution is by no means equal to his 
sense of omnipotence in regard to his ability to destroy; 
for we must remember that his reaction-formations set in 
at a stage of ego-development and object-relationship in 
which his knowledge of reality is in a much more advanced 
state. Thus where an exaggerated sense of omnipotence is 
a necessary condition for making restitution his belief in 
the possibility of being able to do so will be handicapped 
from the outset. 1 

In some analyses I have found that the inhibiting effect 
which resulted from this disparity between destructive 
powers and restitutive ones was reinforced by an added 
factor. If the patient's primary sadism and sense of omni- 
potence had been exceptionally strong his reactive tenden- 
cies were correspondingly powerful, and his phantasies 
of restitution were based on megalomanic phantasies of 
great magnitude. In his childish imagination the havoc 
he had wrought was something unique and gigantic, and 
therefore the restitution he had to make must be unique 
and gigantic too. This in itself would be a sufficient im- 
pediment to the carrying out of his constructive tend- 
encies (although it may be mentioned that two of my 
patients did undoubtedly possess unusual artistic and 
creative gifts). But side by side with these megalomanic 
phantasies he had very strong doubts as to whether he 
possessed the omnipotence necessary for making restitu- 
tion on this scale. In consequence he tried to deny his 

1 In a discussion on this subject Miss Searl pointed out that the child's impulse 
to restore things is also hindered by its early experience of the fact that it is easy 
to^ break things but exceedingly difficult to put them together again. Factual 
evidence of this kind must, I think, contribute to increase its doubts about its 
creative powers. 


omnipotence in his acts of destruction as well. But every 
indication that he was using his omnipotence in a positive 
sense would be proof of his having used it in a negative 
sense and must therefore be avoided until he could bring 
forward absolute proof that his constructive omnipotence 
fully counterbalanced its opposite. In the two adult cases 
I have in mind, the 'all or nothing' attitude which resulted 
from these conflicting tendencies led to severe inhibitions 
in their capacity to work; whilst in one or two child- 
patients it helped severely to inhibit the formation of sub- 

This mechanism does not seem to be typical for obses- 
sional neurosis. The patients in whom I have observed it 
presented a clinical picture of a mixed type, not a purely 
obsessional one. In virtue of the mechanism of 'displace- 
ment on to trifles', which plays so great a part in his 
neurosis, the obsessional patient can seek in very slight 
achievements a proof of his constructive omnipotence and 
his success in making complete restitution. The doubts 
he may have on this head * are, in his case, an important 
incentive to repeat his actions in an obsessive way. 

It is well known what close ties there are between the 
epistemophilic and the sadistic instincts. Freud writes, 2 
'the desire for knowledge in particular often gives one the 
impression that it can actually take the place of sadism in 
the mechanism of the obsessional neurosis*. From what I 
have been able to observe, the connection between the two 
is formed in a very early stage of ego-development, during 
the phase of maximal sadism. At this time the child's 
epistemophilic instincts are activated by its incipient 
Oedipus conflict and, to begin with, subserve its oral- 
sadistic trends. 3 It seems that their first object is the 
interior of its mother's body, which the child first of all 
regards as an object of oral gratification and then as the 

1 In his 'Notes upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis' (1909)* P- 37$* 
remarks that doubt is in reality a doubt of one's own love and that *a man who 
doubts his own love may, or rather must, doubt every lesser thing*. 

* "The Predisposition to Obsessional Neurosis* (1924). 

* Cf. Abraham, Tsycho-Analytical Studies on Character-Formation* (1925). 



scene where coition between its parents takes place and 
where the father's penis and children are situated. At the 
same time as it wants to force its way into its mother's body 
in order to take possession of the contents and to destroy 
them, it wants to know what is going on and what things 
look like in there. In this way its wish to know what there 
is in the interior of her body is assimilated in many ways 
with its wish to force a way inside her, and the one desire 
reinforces and stands for the other. Thus the beginnings 
of the epistemophilic instinct become linked with the sad- 
istic tendencies at their maximal strength, and it is easier 
to understand why that bond should be so close and why 
the epistemophilic instinct should arouse feelings of guilt 
in the individual. 

We see the small child oppressed by a crowd of ques- 
tions and problems which its intellect is as yet utterly unfit 
to deal with. The typical reproach, which it makes against 
its mother principally, is that she does not answer these 
questions, and no more satisfies its desire to know than she 
has satisfied its oral desires. This reproach plays an im- 
portant part both in the development of the child's char- 
acter and of its epistemophilic instincts. How far back such 
an accusation goes can be seen from another reproach 
which the child habitually makes in close association with 
it, viz. that it could not understand what grown-up people 
were saying or the words they used; and this second com- 
plaint must refer to a time before it was able to speak. 
Moreover, the child attaches an extraordinary amount of 
affect to these two reproaches, whether they appear singly 
or in combination; and at these moments it will talk in its 
analysis in such a way as not to be understood and will at 
the same time reproduce the reactions of rage which it 
originally felt at being unable to understand words, 1 It 
cannot put the questions it wants to ask into words, and 
would not be able to understand any answer that was given 
in words. But, in part at least, these questions have never 

1 My two-and-three-quarter-year-old patient, Rita, used to do this to me in 
her analysis (cf. Chapter II.)- 


been conscious at all. The disappointment to which the 
first stirrings of the epistemophilic instinct in the earliest 
stages of ego-development are doomed is, I think, the 
deepest source of severe disturbances of that instinct 
in general. 1 

We have seen that it is in the first place sadistic im- 
pulses against its mother's body which activate the child's 
epistemophilic instinct But the anxiety which soon follows 
as a reaction to such impulses gives a further very im- 
portant impetus to the increase and intensification of that 
instinct. The urge the child feels to find out what is inside 
its mother's body and its own is reinforced by its fear of 
the dangers which it supposes the former to contain and 
also by its fear of the dangerous introjected objects and 
occurrences within itself. Knowledge is now a means of 
mastering anxiety; and its desire to know becomes an im- 
portant factor both in the development of its epistemo- 
philic instincts and in their inhibition. Anxiety plays the 
same role of a promoting and retarding agency here as it 
does in the development of the libido. We have had occa- 
sion in earlier pages to discuss some examples of severe 
disturbances of the epistemophilic instinct, 2 and have seen 
how the child's terror of knowing anything about the fear- 
ful destruction it had done to its mother's body in imagina- 
tion and the consequent counter attacks and perils it was 
exposed to was so tremendous that it set up a radical dis- 
turbance of its desire for knowledge as a whole, so that 
its original, intensely strong and unsatisfied desire to get 
information about the shape, size and number of its father's 
penises, excrements and children inside its mother had 
gone over into a need to measure, add up and count things 
in a compulsive way. 

As the libidinal impulses of children grow stronger and 
their destructive ones weaker, qualitative changes con- 

1 The hatred felt for people who speak another language and the difficulty 
experienced in learning a foreign language seem to me to be derived from these 
earliest disappointments of the epistemophilic instinct. 

* Cf. the cases of Erna (Chapter III.), Kenneth (Chapter IV.) and I3se 

Chapter V.). 


tinually take place in their super-ego, so that it makes itself 
more and more felt by the ego as an admonitory influence. 
And, as their anxiety diminishes, their restitutive mechan- 
isms become less obsessive in character and work more 
steadily and efficiently and with better results; and there 
emerge more clearly the reactions which we recognize as 
belonging to the genital stage. That stage would thus be 
characterized by the fact that in the interactions which 
take place between projection and introjection and be- 
tween super-ego formation and object-relations, and which, 
to my mind, dominate all the early stages of the child's 
development, the positive elements have gained the day. 



ONE of the main problems presented by Psycho- 
Analysis is that of anxiety and its modification. 
The various psycho-neurotic illnesses to which the 
individual is liable can be looked upon as more or less un- 
successful attempts to master anxiety. But side by side 
with these methods of modifying anxiety, which may be 
considered as pathological, there are a number of normal 
methods, and they have an enormous importance for the 
development of the ego. It is to some of these that we shall 
turn our attention in the following pages. 

At the beginning of its development the ego is sub- 
jected to the pressure of early anxiety-situations. Weak as 
it still is, it is exposed on the one hand to the violent urges 
of the id, and on the other, to the threats of a cruel super- 
ego, and it has to exert its powers to the utmost to satisfy- 
both sides. Freud's description of the ego as *a poor creature 
owing service to three masters and consequently menaced 
by three several dangers' 1 is especially true of the feeble and 
immature ego of the small child, whose principal task it is 
to master the pressure of anxiety it is under. 2 

1 The Ego and the Id (1923), p. 82. 

2 In some extreme cases this pressure can be so forcible as to arrest completely 
the development of the ego. But even in less abnormal cases it can act not only 
as a promoting agency but as a retarding one in that development. In order for 
it to have a favourable effect, as in all developmental processes, a certain optimum 
relation between the co-operating factors is required. 



In its play, even the quite small child will attempt to 
overcome its unpleasurable experiences. Freud has de- 
scribed how a small boy of one and a half tried to get over 
the unpleasurable event of his mother's temporary absence 
by throwing away a wooden reel tied to a piece of string 
so that it disappeared, and then pulling it back into sight 
again, and doing this over and over again. 1 Freud has re- 
cognized in this behaviour a function of general import- 
ance in the play of children. By means of it the child turns 
the experiences it has passively endured into an active per- 
formance and changes pain into pleasure by giving its 
originally painful experiences a happy ending. 

Early analysis has shown that in play the child not only 
overcomes painful reality, 2 but is assisted in mastering 
its instinctual fears and internal dangers by projecting 
them into the outer world. 3 

The endeavour made by the ego to displace intra- 
psychic processes into the outer world and let them run 
their course there is allied to another mental function, one 
which Freud has made known to us in connection with the 
dreams of neurotics about the traumas they have experi- 
enced. He says: 'These dreams are attempts at restoring 
control of the stimuli by developing apprehension, the pre- 
termission of which caused the traumatic neurosis. They 
thus afford us an insight into a function of the psychic 
apparatus, which without contradicting the pleasure-prin- 
ciple is nevertheless independent of it, and appears to be 
of earlier origin than the aim of attaining pleasure and 
avoiding pain.' 4 The child's ever-renewed attempts to 

1 Beyond the Pleasure-Principle (1920), p. 12. 

* In the two previous chapters we have seen that in the earliest stages of the 
development of the individual his ego is not sufficiently able to tolerate his in- 
stinctual anxiety and his fear of his internalized objects, and tries to protect 
itself in part by scotomizing and denying psychological reality. 

3 Freud regards the origins of projection as a 'shaping of behaviour towards 
such excitations as bring with them an overplus of -pain. There will be a tendency 
to treat them as though they were acting not from within but from without, in 
order for it to be possible to apply against them the defensive measures of the 
barrier against stimuli (Reixschutz). This is the origin of projection, for which so 
important a part is reserved in the production of pathological states' (Beyond the 
Pleasure-Principle, 1920, p. 33). Ibid. p. 37. 


master anxiety in its play also seem to me to involve a *con~ 
trol of stimuli by developing apprehension'. 1 A displace- 
ment of this kind of instinctual and internal dangers into the 
outer world enables the child not only to master its fear 
of them better but to be more fully prepared against them. 

The displacement of the child's anxiety arising from 
intra-psychic causes into the external world a displace- 
ment which goes along with the deflection of its destructive 
instinct outwards has the further effect of increasing 
the importance of its objects, for it is in relation to those 
objects that both its destructive impulses and its positive 
and reactive tendencies will now be activated. 2 Thus its 
objects become a source of danger to the child, and yet, 
in so far as they are felt to be kindly, they also represent a 
refuge from anxiety. 

Besides the relief it gives by enabling internal instinctual 
stimuli to be dealt with as though they were external 
stimuli, the mechanism of projection, through displacing 
anxiety relating to internal dangers on to the outer world, 
affords additional advantages. The child's epistemophilic 
instincts, which, together with its sadistic impulses, have 
been directed towards the interior of its mother's body, are 
intensified by its fear of the dangers and acts of destruction 
which are going on there and inside itself and which it has 
no means of knowing about. But when the dangers it is 
exposed to are real and external, it is able to find out more 
about their nature and to know whether the measures it 
has adopted against them have been successful ; and it thus 
has a better chance of overcoming them. This testing by 
reality which is so necessary to the child is a strong incen- 
tive for the development of its epistemophilic instinct as 
well as many other sorts of activity. In fact, I think we may 

1 Concerning the close relations between dreams and play, cf. Chapter I. of 
this book; as also my paper, 'Personification in the Play of Children* (1929). 

* In relating the incident of the child and the wooden reel Freud has inter- 
preted its action of throwing away the reel as being the expression of sadistic 
impulses and of impulses of revenge. Its subsequent action of making the reel 
reappear (*>. making its mother come back) was, I think, no kss the expression 
of a magical restoration of the object (its mother) which it had symbolically 
killed by throwing it away. 


say that all those activities which help the child to defend 
itself from danger, which disprove its fears and which 
enable it to make restitution to its object, have as their 
purpose the mastering of anxiety in regard to dangers both 
from without and within, both real and imaginary, no less 
than have the early manifestations of its impulse to play. 
In consequence of the interaction of introjection and 
projection a process which corresponds to the interaction 
of super-ego formation and object-relationship 1 the child 
finds a refutation of its fears in the outer world, and at 
the same time allays its anxiety by introjecting its real, 
'good' objects. Since the presence and love of its real 
objects also help to lessen the small child's fear of its intro- 
jected objects and its sense of guilt, its fear of internal dan- 
gers strengthens its fixation upon its mother and increases 
its need for love and help. Freud has explained that those 
expressions of anxiety in small children which are intelli- 
gible to us have ultimately only one cause 'the absence 
of the loved or longed-for person' 2 and he traces that 
anxiety back to a stage in which the immature individual 
was entirely dependent on its mother. Being lonely without 
the loved or longed-for person, experiencing a loss of 
love or a loss of object as a danger, being frightened of 
being in the dark alone or with an unknown person all 
these things are, I have found, modified forms of early 
anxiety-situations, that is, of the small child's fear of 
dangerous internalized and external objects. At a some- 
what later stage of development there is added to this 
fear of the object a fear on behalf of it; and the child 
now fears that its mother will die in consequence of its 
imaginary attacks upon her and that it will be left all 
alone in its helpless state. Freud says, concerning this: 
*It* (the infant) 'cannot as yet distinguish between tempo- 
rary absence and permanent loss. Whenever its mother 
fails to appear it behaves as though it were never .going 
to see her again; and only repeated experience teaches it 

1 Cf. Chapter IX. 
1 Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 77. 


that a disappearance of this kind is followed by her safe 
return/ * 

According to my observations, the reason why the child 
needs to have its mother always with it is not only to con- 
vince it that she is not dead but that she is not the *bad', 
attacking mother. It requires the presence of a real object 
in order to combat its fear of its terrifying introjected 
objects and of its super-ego. As its relationship to reality 
advances the child makes increasing use of its relations 
to its objects and its various activities and sublimations as 
points of support against its fear of its super-ego and its 
destructive impulses. It has already been said that anxiety 
stimulates the development of the ego. What happens is 
that in its efforts to master anxiety the child's ego summons 
to its assistance its relations to its objects and to reality. 
Those efforts are therefore of fundamental importance for 
the child's adaptation to reality and for the development 
of its ego. 

The small child's super-ego and object are not identical; 
but it is continually endeavouring to make them inter- 
changeable, partly so as to lessen its fear of its super-ego, 
partly so as to be better able to comply with the require- 
ments of its real objects, which do not coincide with the 

1 Ibid. S. 113. But the small child will only allow itself to be convinced by 
comforting experiences of this kind provided that its earliest anxiety-situations 
do not predominate and that in the formation of its super-ego its relations to its 
real objects are sufficiently brought into play. I have over and over again found 
that in older children also the absence of their mother reactivated the earliest 
anxiety-situations under whose pressure they had, as small children, felt her 
temporary absence as a permanent one. In my paper, 'Personification in the Play 
of Children* (1929), I have reported the case of a boy of six who made me play 
the part of a 'fairy mother* who was to protect him against his *bad* combined 
parents and kill them. I had, furthermore, to change over and over again from 
the 'fairy mother' to the *bad mother* all at once. As the *fairy mother* I had to 
heal the fatal wounds he had received from a huge wild animal (the 'bad* 
combined parents)} but the next moment I had to go away and come back as 
the 'bad mother' and attack him. He said: 'Whenever the fairy mother goes out 
of the room you never know if she won't come back all of a sudden as the bad 
mother*. This boy, who had had an unusually strong fixation on his mother 
since his earliest years, lived in the perpetual belief that some harm had befallen 
his parents and his brothers and sisters. It came out that even if he had only just 
seen his mother the minute before he felt no security that she had not died in 
the meanwhile. 


unrealistic commands of its introjected objects. Thus .we 
see that on top of the conflict between the super-ego and 
the id and the opposition between the various require- 
ments made by the super-ego itself, composed as it is of 
quite different imagos that have been formed in the course 
of development, the ego of the small child is burdened 
with this difference between the standards of its super-ego 
and the standards of its real objects, with the result that 
it is constantly wavering between its introjected objects 
and its real ones between its world of phantasy and its 
world of reality. 

The attempt to effect an adjustment between the super- 
ego and id cannot be successful in early childhood, for the 
pressure of the id and the corresponding severity of the 
super-ego absorb as yet the whole energy of the ego. When, 
at the onset of the latency period, the development of the 
libido and the formation of the super-ego have reached 
completion, the ego is stronger and can approach the task 
of making an adjustment on a broader basis between the 
factors concerned. The strengthened ego joins with the 
super-ego in setting up a common standard which includes 
above all the subjection of the id and its adaptation to the 
demands of real objects and the external world. At this 
period of its development the child's ego-ideal is the well- 
behaved, 'good* child that satisfies its parents and teachers. 

This stabilization is, however, shattered in the period 
just before puberty and, more especially, at puberty itself. 
The resurgence of libido which takes place at this period 
strengthens the demands of the id, while at the same time 
the pressure of the super-ego is increased. The ego is 
once more hard pressed and finds itself faced with the 
necessity of arriving at some new adjustment; for the old 
one has failed and the instinctual impulses can no longer 
be kept down and restricted as they were before. The 
child's anxiety is increased by the fact that its instincts 
might now more easily break through in reality and with 
more serious consequences than in early childhood. 

The ego, in agreement with the super-ego, therefore 


sets up a new standard. This is that the individual 
should liberate himself from the original objects of his 
love. We see the adolescent often at odds with those 
around him and on the look-out for new objects. Such a 
need once again harmonizes to a certain extent with reality, 
which imposes different and higher obligations upon him 
at this age; and in the further course of his development 
this flight from the original objects leads to a partial detach- 
ment from personal objects in general and to the substitu- 
tion of principles and ideals in their stead. 

The final stabilization of the individual is not achieved 
until he has passed through the period of puberty. At the 
termination of this period his ego and super-ego are able 
to work together in creating adult standards. Instead of 
being dependent on his immediate environment the indi- 
vidual now adapts himself to the larger world about him, 
and acknowledges its claims, but as something that 
corresponds more to his own internal, independent and 
self-imposed standards which no longer show obvious signs 
of having been set up for him by his objects. An adjustment 
of this kind rests on his recognition of a new reality and is 
effected with the assistance of a stronger ego. And once 
more, as in the first period of expansion of his sexual life, 
the pressure arising from the menacing situation created 
by the exaggerated demands of the id on the one side 
and the super-ego on the other contributes much towards 
this strengthening of his ego. The contrary, inhibiting 
effect of such a pressure is seen in the fresh limitation of his 
personality, usually a permanent one, which overtakes him 
at the close of this period. The enlargement of his imagin- 
ative life which accompanies, though to a milder degree 
than in the first period of childhood, this second emergence 
of his sexuality is as a rule once again severely curtailed 
at the close of puberty. And we now have before us the 
'normal' adult. 

One more point. We have seen that in early childhood 
the super-ego and the id cannot as yet be reconciled with 
each other. In the latency period stability is achieved by 


the ego and super-ego uniting in the pursuit of a common 
aim* At puberty, a situation similar to the early period is 
created, and this is once more followed by a mental stabil- 
ization of the individual. We have already discussed the 
differences between these two kinds of stabilization; and 
we can now see what they have in common. In both cases 
an adjustment is reached by the ego and super-ego agree- 
ing upon a common standard and setting up an ego-ideal 
that takes into account the demands of reality. 1 

In the earlier chapters of this book I have tried to show 
that the development of the super-ego ceases, along with 
that of the libido, at the onset of the latency period. I would 
now like to emphasize as a point of central importance that 
what we have to deal with in the various stages that follow 
the decline of the Oedipus conflict are not changes in the 
super-ego itself but a growth of the ego, which involves a 
consolidation of the super-ego. The general process of 
stabilization which occurs in the child during the latency 
period is effected, I think, not by any actual alteration of 
its super-ego but by the fact that its ego and super-ego are 
pursuing the common aim of achieving an adaptation to 
its environment and adopting ego-ideals belonging to that 

We must now pass from our discussion of the develop- 
ment of the ego to a consideration of how this process 
stands in relation to that mastering of anxiety-situations 
which has been mentioned as such an essential factor 
in it. 

I have said that the small child's play activities, by 
bridging the gulf between phantasy and reality, help it to 
master its fear of internal and external dangers. Let us take 
the typical 'mother' games of little girls. Analysis of normal 

1 In his Hemmung, Symptom und Angst (1926) Freud says: 'The ego controls 
the approach to consciousness and the translation of impulses into action in the 
external world; in its repressive function, it exercises its power in both directions*. 
On the other hand he says: *We have shown its* (the ego's) 'dependence on the 
id and the super-ego and its helplessness and apprehension in the face of them' 
(S. 32). My theory of the growth of the ego is in agreement with these two 
statements, for it shows how the forces of the super-ego and ego react on each 
other and determine the whole course of the individual's development. 


children shows that these games, besides being wish ful- 
filments, contain the deepest anxiety belonging to early 
anxiety-situations, and that beneath the little girl's ever- 
recurring desire for dolls there lies a need for consolation 
and reassurance. The possession of her dolls is a proof that 
she has not been robbed of her children by her mother,, that 
she has not had her body destroyed by her and that she 
is able to have children. Moreover, by nursing and dress- 
ing her dolls, with whom she identifies herself, she obtains 
proof that she has a loving mother, and thus lessens her 
fear of being abandoned and left homeless and mother- 
less. This purpose is also served to some extent by other 
games which are played by children of both sexes, as, for 
instance, games of furnishing houses and travelling, both 
of which spring from the desire to find a new home Le. 
to re-discover their mother. 

A typical boys' game, and one which brings out the 
masculine components very clearly, is playing with carts, 
horses and trains. This symbolizes forcing a way into 
the mother's body. In their play boys enact over and 
over again, and with every kind of variation, scenes of 
fighting with their father inside her and copulating with 
her. The boldness, skill and cunning with which they 
defend themselves against their enemies in their games of 
fighting assure them that they can successfully combat 
their castrating father, and this lessens their fear of him. 
By this means and by repeatedly representing himself as 
copulating with his mother in various ways and showing 
his prowess in it, the boy tries to prove to himself that he 
possesses a penis and sexual potency two things whose 
loss his deepest anxiety-situations have led him to await. 
And, since along with his aggressive tendencies his restora- 
tive ones towards his mother come out as well in these 
games, he also proves to himself that his penis is not de- 
structive; and in this way he allays his sense of guilt 1 

The intense pleasure which children who are not in- 
hibited in their play get from games proceeds not only from 

1 This subject will be more fully discussed in Chapter XII. 


the gratification of their wish-fulfilling impulses, but also 
from the mastery of anxiety which their games help them 
to achieve. But in my opinion it is not merely a question 
of two separate functions being carried out side by side; 
what happens is that the ego employs every wish-fulfilling 
mechanism to a large extent for the purpose of mastering 
anxiety as well. Thus by a complicated process which 
utilizes all the forces of the ego, children's games effect a 
transformation of anxiety into pleasure. We will examine 
later how this fundamental process affects the economy of 
the mental life and ego-development of the adult. 

Nevertheless, as far as small children are concerned, the 
ego can only very partially achieve the aim of mastering 
anxiety by means of play. Their games do not completely 
help them to overcome their fear of internal dangers. 
Anxiety is always operative in them. As long as it is latent 
it makes itself felt as a continual impulsion to play; but as 
soon as it becomes manifest it puts a stop to their game. 

With the onset of the latency period the child masters 
its anxiety better and at the same time shows a greater 
capacity to come up to the requirements of reality. On the 
other hand its games lose their imaginative content and 
their place is gradually taken by school-work. The child's 
preoccupation with the letters of the alphabet, arithmetical 
numbers and drawing, which has at first the character of 
play, largely replaces its games with toys. Its interest in 
the way in which letters are joined together, in getting 
their shape and order right and in making them of even 
size, and its delight in achieving correctness in each of these 
details, all flow from the same internal causes as its former 
activity in building houses and playing with dolls. A beauti- 
ful and orderly exercise-book has the same symbolic mean- 
ing for the girl as house and home, namely, that of a 
healthy, unimpaired body. Letters and numbers represent 
parents, brothers and sisters, children, genitals and excre- 
ments to her and are vehicles for her original aggressive 
tendencies as well as for her reactive ones. The re- 
futation of her fears, which she formerly obtained from 


playing with dolls and furnishing houses, she now gets by 
the successful performance of her school-work. Analyses of 
children in this period show that not only every detail of 
their book-work, but all their various activities in handi- 
crafts, drawing and so on, are utilized in imagination to 
restore their own genitals and body, as well as their mother's 
body and its contents, their fathers penis, their brothers 
and sisters, etc. In the same way every single item of their 
own or their dolPs clothing, such as collars, cuffs, shawl, 
cap, belt, stockings, shoes, has a symbolic signification. 1 

In the normal course of their development the care which 
younger children lavish on the 'drawing' of letters and 
numbers is extended, as they grow older, to intellectual 
achievement as a whole. But even so, their satisfaction in 
such achievements is largely dependent on the apprecia- 
tion they receive from the people about them ; it is a means 
of gaining the approval of their elders. In the latency 
period, therefore, we see that the child finds a refutation 
of its danger-situations to a great extent in the love and 
approval of its real objects, and that it lays exaggerated 
stress upon those objects and upon its world of reality. 

In the boy, writing is the expression of his masculine 
components. 2 His ability to write words and the stroke of 
the pen with which he forms his letters represent an active 
performance of coitus, and are a proof of his possession of 
a penis and of sexual potency. Books and exercise-books 
stand for the genitals or body of his mother or sister. 3 To a 
six-year-old boy, for instance, the capital letter *L* meant 
a man on a horse (himself and his penis) riding through 
an archway (his mother's genitals); T was the penis and 
himself, V his mother's genitals and his mother herself, 
and *ie' the union of himself and her in coitus. 4 The active 

1 Cf. Fliigel, The Psychology of Clothes (1930). 

* In girls, too, writing and other activities of the kind are mainly derived from 
masculine components. 

3 In connection with his feminine components, his exercise-book stands for 
his own body, and the accomplishment of his school task an attempt to restore it. 

4 Cf . my paper, 'The Role of the School in the libidinal Development of the 
Child* (1923). Capitals and small letters generally stand for parents and 
children respectively. 


copulation phantasies of boys come out also in active 
games and in sport, and we find the same phantasies ex- 
pressed in the details of these games as in their lessons. 
The boy's wish to surpass his rivals and so to obtain an 
assurance against the danger of being castrated by his 
father behaviour which corresponds to the masculine 
mode of dealing with anxiety-situations and which is of so 
much importance later on at the age of puberty makes its 
appearance while he is still in the latency period. In gen- 
eral the boy is less dependent than the girl on the approval 
of his environment even in this period, and achievement 
for its own sake already plays a much greater part in his 
psychological life than in hers. 

We have described the stabilization which takes place 
in the latency period as being founded upon an adaptation 
to reality effected by the ego in agreement with the super- 
ego. The attainment of such an aim depends upon a com- 
bined action of all the forces engaged in keeping down and 
restricting the id-instincts. It is here that the child's 
struggle to break itself of masturbation comes in a 
struggle which, to quote Freud, 'claims a large share of its 
energies' during the latency period and whose full force is 
directed against its masturbation phantasies as well. And 
these phantasies, as we have repeatedly seen, not only enter 
into all its games as a child but into its activities in learning 
and all its later sublimations as well. 1 

The reason why, in the latency period, the child stands 

1 In my paper, 'The Rdle of the School in the Libidinal Development of 
the Child* (1923), I have discussed the unconscious significance of certain 
articles used at school and have examined the underlying causes of inhibitions 
in learning and in school life. In consequence of an excessive repression of its 
masturbation phantasies the child suffers from an inhibition of its imaginative 
life which affects both its play and work. During the latency period this inhibition 
is very conspicuous in the whole characer of the child. In his Frage der Laien- 
analyse (1926) Freud writes: 'I have an impression that at the onset of the latency 
period they' (children) 'also become more inhibited mentally and stupider; many, 
too, lose some of their physical charm'. It is indeed true that the ego maintain, 
its position of superiority over the id at great cost to the individual. In those 
periods of life when it is not so completely successful in subduing the id (i.e. 
during the first and second periods of sexual expansion) it enjoys a much fuller 
imaginative activity, and this expresses itself in an instability of mind on the one 
hand and greater richness of personality on the other. 


in such great need of the approval of its objects is because 
it wants to lessen the opposition of its super-ego (which at 
this stage tends to adapt itself to its objects) to its de- 
sexualized masturbation phantasies. Thus in this period 
it has to fulfil the requirement on the one hand of giving 
up masturbation and of repressing its masturbation phan- 
tasies, and on the other of putting into effect successfully 
and to the satisfaction of its elders those same masturbation 
phantasies in their desexualized form of everyday interests 
and activities; for it is only with the help of such satis- 
factory sublimations that it can procure the comprehensive 
refutation of its anxiety-situations needed by its ego. On 
its successful escape from this dilemma will depend its 
stabilization in the latency period. Its mastery of anxiety 
is not achieved until it obtains the sanction of those in 
authority over it; and yet unless it has already ob- 
tained that sanction it cannot proceed to make the at- 

This brief review of such very complicated and widely 
ramified processes of development must of necessity be a 
schematic one. In actual fact, the boundary between the 
normal and the neurotic child is not very sharply drawn, 
especially during the latency period. The neurotic child 
may be a good scholar; nor is the normal child always so 
very eager to learn, since he often seeks to disprove his 
anxiety-situations in other ways, for example, by display- 
ing physical prowess. In the latency period the normal girl 
will often master her anxiety in pre-eminently masculine 
ways, and the boy can still be described as normal even 
though he chooses more passive and feminine modes of 
behaviour for the same purpose. 

Freud has brought to our notice the typical ceremonials 
which set in in the latency period and which are a result 
of the child's struggles against masturbation. 1 He says 
that this period 'is furthermore marked by the erection of 
ethical and aesthetic barriers within the ego', and that 'the 
reaction-formations of obsessional neurotics are only normal 

1 Cf. Hemmungt Symptom und Angst (1926), S. 55. 



character-formations carried to excess'. 1 Thus the line of 
demarcation between obsessional reactions and the charac- 
terological development expected of the normal child by 
his educational environment is, except in the most extreme 
cases, not easily fixed in children in the latency period. 

It will be remembered that I have put forward the view 
that the point of departure for obsessional neurosis is situ- 
ated in early childhood. But I have said that in this period 
of development only isolated obsessional traits crop up. 
They do not in general become organized so as to form an 
obsessional neurosis until the latency period sets in. This 
systematization of obsessional traits, which goes along with 
a consolidation of the super-ego 2 and a strengthening of 
the ego, is effected by the super-ego and ego on the basis 
of their erection of a common standard. 3 A standard thus 
upheld by both institutions is the keystone of their power 
over the id. And although the suppression of the child's 
instincts is undertaken at the instance of his objects and 
carried through to a large extent by his obsessional mech- 
anisms, it will not be successful unless all the factors op- 
posed to the id are acting in concert. In this comprehensive 
process of organisation, the ego manifests what Freud has 
called its 'inclination towards making a synthesis'. 4 

Thus in the latency period the requirements of the 
child's ego, super-ego and objects are united and find their 
common satisfaction in an obsessional neurosis. One reason 
why the strong aversion usually shown by grown-ups to 
a child's affects is so successful is because that aversion 
answers at this age to the child's own internal require- 
ments. 6 And, again, we often find in analysis that a child 

1 Hemmungy Symptom und Angst (1926). S. 54. 

* In this process the child's various identifications become more synthesized, 
the requirements made by its super-ego more unified and its internalized objects 
better adjusted to the external situation. Cf. also my paper, 'Personification in 
the Play of Children* (1929). 

1 In Hemmungi Symptom wid Angst (1926), S. 52, Freud says that in obsessional 
neurosis 'The ego and the super-ego have a large share in the formation of the 

* Ibid. S. 52, 

* The child*s environment can also directly affect its neurosis. In some analyses 
I have found that the favourable influence exerted on the patient by a change in 


is being made to suffer and having conflicts set up in its 
mind because the people in charge of it have identified 
themselves too strongly with its naughty behaviour and 
aggressive tendencies. For its ego only feels equal to the 
task of keeping down the id and opposing forbidden 
impulses so long as its elders assist its efforts. The child 
needs to receive prohibitions from without, since these 3 as 
we know, lend support to prohibitions from within. It 
needs, in other words, to have representatives of its super- 
ego in the outer world. This dependence upon objects 
in order to be able to master anxiety is much stronger in 
the latency period than in any other phase of development. 
Indeed it seems to me to be a definite prerequisite for a 
successful transition into the latency period that the child's 
mastery of anxiety should rest upon its object-relations 
and adaptation to reality. 

Nevertheless it is necessary for the child's future sta- 
bility that this mechanism of mastering anxiety should not 
predominate to excess. If the child's interests and achieve- 
ments and other gratifications are too completely devoted 
to its endeavours to win love and recognition from its 
objects, if, that is, its object-relations are the pre-eminent 
means of mastering its anxiety and allaying its sense of 
guilt, its mental health in future years is not planted in 
firm soil. If it is less dependent on its objects and if the 
interests and achievements by means of which it masters 
its anxiety and allays its sense of guilt are done for their 
own sake and afford it interest and pleasure in themselves, 
its anxiety will undergo a better modification and a wider 
distribution will be levelled down, as it were. As soon as 

the people about him was attributable to the fact that it had led him to exchange 
one set of symptoms, which had been very tiresome, for another which, though 
equally important in the structure of his neurosis, was less noticeable. Another 
thing which may make the child's symptoms disappear is an increase of his fear 
of his objects. I once had a boy patient, aged fourteen (cf. my paper, 4 Zur 
Genese des Tics*, 1925), who had done very well in "his kssons at school but 
had been very inhibited in games and sport, until his father, who had been away 
for a long time, came home and brought pressure to bear on him to overcome 
his inhibition. The boy did in fact do so to some extent, out of fear of him; but 
at the same time he was overtaken by a severe inhibition in learning, which still 
persisted "when he came to me for analysis. 


its anxiety has thus been reduced, its capacity for libidinal 
gratification will grow, and this is a pre-condition for the 
successful mastering of anxiety. Anxiety can only be mas- 
tered where the super-ego and id have come to a satisfac- 
tory adjustment and the ego has attained a sufficient degree 
of strength. 1 

Since the mental support which even normal children 
get from their object-relations is so great in the latency 
period, we cannot always at the time detect those frequent 
cases in which they rely upon it too much. But in the 
period of puberty we can easily do so, for now the child 
will no longer be able to master its anxiety if its chief 
means of doing so is its dependence upon its objects. This 
is partly why, I think, psychotic illnesses usually do not 
break out till later childhood, during or after the age of 
puberty. But if we make our criterion of health not only 
an adaptation to the standards of this period of develop- 
ment but also the strength of the ego, based on a lessening 
of the severity of the super-ego and a greater degree of 
instinctual freedom, we shall not be in danger of over- 
rating the factor of adaptability in the latency period as an 
indication of the successful development and real mental 
well-being of the child, 2 

1 If due attention is paid to the indications, we shall be able to observe the 
beginnings of later illnesses and impairments of development much more clearly 
in the first period of childhood than in the latency period. In a great many cases 
of persons who have fallen ill at puberty or later, it has been found that they suffered 
from great difficulties in early childhood but were well adapted during latency, 
at which period they showed no marked difficulties and were amenable often 
all too amenable to their educational environment. In cases where the anxiety 
belonging to the earliest stages is too intense or has not been properly modified, 
the process of stabilization in the latency period, which rests upon obsessional 
mechanisms, does not take place at all. 

* If the requirements of the latency period have been too successfully imposed 
and the child's docility is too great, its character and its ego-ideals will remain 
in a state of subservience to its environment for the rest of its life. A weak ego 
the result of maladjustment between super-ego and id runs the, risk of being 
unable to carry out the task of detaching the individual from his objects at the 
age of puberty and of setting up independent internal standards, so that he will 
fell from a characterological point of view. A lessened dependence upon its 
objects on the part of the child works in quite well with the educational demands 
made upon it at that time. In none of my latency-period analyses has a child 
become detached from its objects in the sense in which children at the age of 
puberty do. All that has happened is that its fixations become less strong and 


Freud says that 'puberty marks a decisive period in the 
development of obsessional neurosis', and that at that time 
'the aggressive impulses of the early period are reawakened 
on the one hand; and on the other, a greater or smaller 
proportion of the new libidinal impulse in bad cases the 
whole of them are driven to take the predestined path 
of regression and reappear as aggressive and destructive 
impulses. Owing to this disguising of the erotic impulses 
and to powerful reaction-formations in the ego, the battle 
against sexuality is now continued in the guise of an ethical 
problem.* 1 

In the boy, the erection of new idealized father-imagos 
and new principles, together with the heightened demands 
that the child makes upon himself help him to move away 
from his original objects. This results in his being able to 
take up his original positive attachment to his father and 
increase it 3 and in his running less risk of coming into 
collision with him. This event goes hand in hand with a 
dividing-up of the imago of his father. He can now love 
and admire his father's exalted imago and visit the very 
strong feelings of hatred he has at this period of his de- 
velopment on his father's bad imago often represented 
by his real father or by a substitute such as a schoolmaster. 
In his relation to the admired imago he can satisfy himself 
that he possesses a powerful and helpful father, and can 
also identify himself with him, and thus fortify his belief in 
his own constructive capacities and sexual potency; while 
in his aggressive relation to the hated imago he proves to 
himself that he is his father's match and need not be afraid 
of being castrated by him. 

It is here that his activities and achievements come in. 
By means of those achievements, whether in the physical 

ambivalent. In this period of life, in becoming less dependent on its objects it 
becomes better able to find other objects, and thus prepares itself for the 
subsequent detachment it must make from its objects at puberty. Analysis does 
not increase but lessens the difficulties the child has in adapting itself to its 
environment and coming to terms with it; for the more internal freedom it has 
the better will it be able to do this. 
1 Hemmimg, Symptom und Angst (19*6), S. 56. 


or the mental field, which call for courage, endurance, 
strength and enterprise he proves to himself, among other 
things, that the castration he dreads so much has not hap- 
pened to him and that he is not impotent. His achieve- 
ments also gratify his reactive tendencies and allay his 
sense of guilt. They show him that his constructive capaci- 
ties outweigh his destructive tendencies, and they repre- 
sent restitution done towards his objects. By giving him 
these assurances they greatly add to the gratification they 
afford him. 1 The allayment of his anxiety and sense of 
guilt, which in the latency period he has found in the suc- 
cessful pursuit of his activities in so far as they are made 
cgo-syntonic by the approval of his environment, must in 
the period of puberty to a much greater extent come from 
the value which his performances and achievements have 
for him in themselves, 

We must now give a brief consideration to the way in 
which the girl deals with her anxiety-situations at puberty. 
At this age she normally preserves the aims of the latency 
period and the modes of mastering anxiety that belong 
to it more strongly than the boy does. Very often, too, she 
adopts the masculine mode of mastering anxiety. We shall 
see in the next chapter why it is more difficult for her to 
establish the feminine position than it is for the boy to 
establish the masculine one. The erection of standards and 
ideals which takes place in the boy at puberty plays an 
important part in her development also, but it takes a more 
subjective and personal form and she sets less store by ab- 
stract principles. Her desire to please her objects extends 
to mental pursuits as well and plays a part even in her 
highest intellectual achievements. Her attitude to her work, 
in so far as the masculine components are not predomin- 
antly involved, corresponds to her attitude towards her 
own body; and her activities in relation to these two in- 

1 In many of his sublimations, particularly his intellectual and artistic efforts, 
the boy makes extensive use of the feminine mode of mastering anxiety. He 
utilizes books and work, in their significance of bodies, fertility, children, etc., 
as a refutation of the destruction of his body which, in the feminine position, he 
awaits at the hands of the mother who is his riral. 


terests are largely concerned with dealing with her specific 
anxiety-situations. A beautiful body or a perfect piece of 
work provide the growing girl with the same counter- 
proofs as she had need of as a child namely, that the in- 
side of her body has not been destroyed by her mother, and 
that the children have not been taken out of it. As a grown 
woman, her relation to her child, which often takes the 
place of her relation to her work, is a very great help to her 
in dealing with anxiety. To have it and nurse it and watch 
it grow and thrive these things provide her, exactly as 
in the case of the little girl and her dolls, with ever- 
renewed proofs that her possession of a child is not en- 
dangered, and serve to allay her sense of guilt. 1 The danger- 
situations, both great and small, which she has to deal with 
in the process of bringing up her children are calculated, 
if things go well, to supply an effective refutation of 
her anxiety. Similarly, her relation to her home, which is 
equivalent to her own body, has a special importance for 
the feminine mode of mastering anxiety, and has, besides, 
another and more direct connection with her early anxiety- 
situation. As we have seen, the little girl's rivalry with her 
mother finds utterance, among other things, in phantasies 
of driving her out and taking her place as mistress of the 
house. An important part of this anxiety-situation for chil- 
dren of both sexes, but more especially for girls, consists 
in the fear of being turned out of the house and being left 
homeless. 2 Their contentment with their own home is 
always partly based on its value as a refutation of this 
element in their anxiety-situation. It is indispensable to 
the normal stabilization of the woman that her children, 
her work, her activities, and the care and adornment of 
her person and home should furnish her with a complete 
refutation of her danger-situations. 3 Her relation to men, 

1 Cf. the next chapter for a discussion of the more underlying factors in her 
relations to her child. 

* The fear of becoming a beggar child or a homeless orphan appears in every 
child analysis. It plays a large part in fixating the child to its mother, and is one 
of the forms taken by its fear of loss of love. 

1 In some women I have been able to establish the fact that when they have 
completed their morning toikt they have had a feeling of freshness and energy 


furthermore, is largely determined by her need to convince 
herself through their admiration of the intactness of her 
body. Her narcissism, therefore, plays a great part in her 
mastery of anxiety. It is as a result of this feminine mode 
of mastering anxiety that women are so much more de- 
pendent on the love and approval of men and of objects 
in general than men are upon women. But men, too, 
extract from their love-relations a tranquillization of their 
anxiety which contributes no little to the sexual gratifica- 
tion they get from them. 

The normal process of mastering anxiety seems to be 
conditional upon a number of factors, in which the specific 
methods employed act in conjunction with quantitative 
elements, such as the amount of sadism and anxiety pre- 
sent and the degree of capacity possessed by the ego to 
tolerate anxiety. If these interacting factors attain a certain 
optimum, it appears that the individual is able to modify 
quite successfully even very large quantities of anxiety, to 
develop his ego in a satisfactory manner and even well 
above the average, and to achieve mental health. The con- 
ditions under which he can master anxiety are as specific 
as the conditions under which he can love, and are, as far 
as can be seen, very intimately bound up with them. 1 In 
some cases, best typified in the age of puberty, the condi- 
tion for mastering anxiety is that the individual shall face 
especially difficult circumstances, such as give rise to strong 
fear; in others, it is that he shall avoid as far as he can 
and even, in extreme cases, in a phobic way all such cir- 
cumstances. Between these two extremes is situated what 
can be regarded as a normal impulsion to obtain pleasure 
from the overcoming of anxiety-situations that are associ- 
ated with not too much and not too direct (and therefore 
better apportioned) anxiety. 

In this chapter I have tried to show that all the activities, 
interests and sublimations of the individual also serve to 
master his anxiety and allay his guilt, and that their motive 

in contrast to a previous mood of depression. Washing and dressing stood for 
restoring themselves in many ways. i Cf. Chapter XI. 


force is not only to gratify his aggressive impulses but to 
make restitution towards his object and to restore his own 
body and sexual parts. We have also seen * that in a very 
early stage of his development his sense of omnipotence is 
enlisted in the service of his destructive impulses. When 
his reaction-formations set in, this sense of negative, de- 
structive omnipotence makes it necessary for him to believe 
in his constructive omnipotence; and the stronger his 
sense of sadistic omnipotence has been, the stronger must 
his sense of positive omnipotence now be, in order that 
he may be able to come up to the requirements of his 
super-ego in respect of making restitution* If the restitu- 
tion required of him necessitates a very strong sense of 
constructive omnipotence as, for instance, that he shall 
make complete restitution towards both parents and to- 
wards his brothers and sisters, etc., and, by displacement, 
towards other objects and even the entire world then, 
whether he will do great things in life and whether the 
development of his ego and of his sexual life will be suc- 
cessful, or whether he will fall a victim to severe inhibi- 
tions, will partly depend upon the strength of his ego and 
the degree of his adaptation to reality which regulates 
those imaginary requirements, and partly upon whether 
the tasks laid upon him are too exacting and the dis- 
crepancy between his destructive and constructive omni- 
potence exceeds a certain limit. 2 

To sum up what has been said: We have tried to get 
some insight into the complicated process, involving all 
the energies of the individual, by means of which the ego 
attempts to master his infantile anxiety-situations. The 
success of this process is of fundamental importance for 
the development of his ego, and a decisive factor in secur- 
ing his mental health. For with the normal person it is 
this manifold reassurance against his anxiety a reassur- 
ance which is constantly being renewed and flows from 
many sources and which he derives from his activities and 

i Cf. Chapter IX. 
* In Chapter XII. we shall discuss a case in point. 


interests and from his social relations and erotic gratifica- 
tions that enables him to leave his original anxiety- 
situations far behind and to distribute and weaken the full 
force of their impact upon him. 1 

Finally, we must examine how the account given in 
these pages of the normal method of dealing with anxiety- 
situations compares with Freud's view on the subject. 
In his Hemmung) Symptom und Angst (S. 89) he writes: 
'During the course of development to maturity, then, con- 
ditions for anxiety must have been given up and danger- 
situations must have lost their significance*. This state- 
ment, however, is qualified by his subsequent remarks. 
After the sentence just quoted he goes on: 'Moreover, 
some of these danger-situations manage to survive into 
later periods by modifying their anxiety-conditions to suit 
the circumstances of later life*. I think that my theory of 
the modification of anxiety helps us to understand by what 
means the normal person gets away from his anxiety- 
situations and modifies the conditions under which he feels 
anxiety. For that even a wide removal from his anxiety- 
situations such as the normal individual achieves does not 
amount to a relinquishment of them, analytic observation 
strongly inclines me to believe. To all intents and purposes 
those anxiety-situations, it is true, have no direct effects 
upon him; but in certain circumstances such effects will 
reappear. If a normal person is put under a severe internal 
or external strain, or if he falls ill or fails in some other 
way, we may observe in him the full and complete opera- 
tion of his deepest anxiety-situations. Since, then, every 
healthy person may succumb to a neurotic illness, it follows 
that he can never have entirely given up his old anxiety- 

The following remarks by Freud would seem to bear 
out this view. In the passage just quoted he writes: 

1 This mechanism of mastering anxiety plays a part in the most unimportant 
actions, so that the mere overcoming of everyday difficulties affords a person a 
means of mastering his anxiety of no small economic importance. And if he is 
neurotic he will often find such actions very burdensome and may be unable 
to perform them. 


'The neurotic differs from the normal in that he exagger- 
ates his reactions to these dangers. Even being grown-up 
offers no complete protection against the return of the 
original traumatic situation ; for every one there must be a 
limit beyond which his mental apparatus cannot manage to 
master the quantities of excitation demanding discharge/ 



PSYCHO-ANALYTIC investigation has thrown much less 
light on the psychology of women than on that of 
men. Since the fear of castration was the first thing 
that was discovered as an underlying motive force in the 
formation of neurosis in men, analysts naturally began by 
studying aetiological factors of the same kind in women. 
The results obtained in this way held good in so far as the 
psychology of the two sexes was similar but not in so far 
as it differed. Freud has well expressed this point in a 
passage in which he says : * . . . and besides, is it quite cer- 
tain that castration anxiety is the only cause of repression 
(or defence)? When we think of neuroses in women we 
must feel some doubts. True enough, a castration com- 
plex is always to be found in them; but we can hardly 
speak of a castration anxiety where castration is already an 
accomplished fact/ I 

When we consider how important every advance in our 
knowledge of castration anxiety has been both for under- 
standing the psychology of the male individual and for 
effecting a cure of his neuroses, we shall expect that a 
knowledge of whatever anxiety is its equivalent in the 
female individual will enable us to perfect our therapeutic 
treatment of her and help us to get a clear idea of the lines 
along which her sexual development moves forward. 

1 Htmmung, Symptom vnd Angst (192.6), S. 63. 


The Anxiety-Situation of the Girl 

In my * Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928) 
I have endeavoured to throw some light on this still un- 
solved problem and have put forward the view that the 
girl's deepest fear is of having the inside of her body 
robbed and destroyed. As a result of the oral frustration 
she experiences from her mother, the female child turns 
away from her and takes her father's penis as her object of 
gratification. This new desire urges her to make further 
important steps in her development. She evolves phan- 
tasies of her mother introducing her father's penis into her 
body and giving him the breast; and these phantasies form 
the nucleus of early sexual theories which arouse feelings 
of envy and hatred in her at being frustrated by both 
parents. (Incidentally, at this stage of development children 
of both sexes believe that it is the body of their mother 
which contains all that is desirable, especially their father's 
penis.) This sexual theory increases the small girl's hatred 
of her mother on account of the frustration she has suffered 
from her, and contributes to the production of sadistic 
phantasies of attacking and destroying her mother's inside 
and depriving it of its contents. Owing to her fear of 
retaliation, such phantasies form the basis of her deepest 
anxiety-situation . 

In his paper on 'The Early Development of Female Sexu- 
ality' (i 927), Ernest Jones gives the name aphanisis to the 
destruction of the capacity to obtain libidinal gratification 
of which the girl stands in dread; and he considers that this 
dread constitutes an early and dominating anxiety-situa- 
tion for her. It seems to me that the destruction of the girl's 
capacity to obtain libidinal gratification implies a destruc- 
tion of those organs which are necessary for the purpose. 
And she expects to have those organs destroyed in the 
course of the attacks that will be made, principally by her 
mother, upon her body and its contents. Her fears con- 
cerning her genitals are especially intense, partly because 
her own sadistic impulses against her mother are very 


strongly directed towards her genitals and the erotic plea- 
sures she gets from them, and partly because her fear of 
being incapable of enjoying sexual gratification serves in 
its turn to increase her fear of having her genitals damaged. 

Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict 

According to my experience, the girl's Oedipus ten- 
dencies are ushered in by her oral desires for her father's 
penis. These desires are already accompanied by genital 
impulses. Her wish to rob her mother of her father's penis 
and incorporate it in herself is, I have found, a fundamental 
factor in the development of her sexual life. The resent- 
ment her mother has aroused in her by withdrawing the 
nourishing breast from her is intensified by the further 
wrong she has done her in not granting her her father's 
penis as an object of gratification; and this double griev- 
ance is the deepest source of the hatred the female child feels 
towards her mother as a result of her Oedipus tendencies. 

These views differ in some respects from accepted 
psycho-analytical theory. Freud has come to the conclu- 
sion that it is the castration complex that introduces the 
girl's Oedipus complex, and that what makes her turn 
away from her mother is the grudge she bears her for not 
having given her a penis of her own. 1 The divergence be- 
tween Freud's view and the one put forward here, how- 
ever, becomes less great if we reflect that they agree on two 
important points namely, that the girl wants to have a 
penis and that she hates her mother for not giving her one. 
But, according to my view, what she primarily wants is not 
to possess a penis of her own as an attribute of masculinity, 
but to incorporate her father's penis as an object of oral 
gratification. Furthermore, I think that this desire is not an 
outcome of her castration complex but the most funda- 
mental expression of her Oedipus tendencies, and that 
consequently she is brought under the sway of her Oedipus 

1 'Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between 
the Sexes' (1927). 


impulses not indirectly, through her masculine tendencies 
and her penis-envy, but directly, as a result of her dominant 
feminine instinctual components. 1 

When the girl turns to her father's penis as the wished- 
for object, several factors concur to make her desire for it 
very intense. The demands of her oral-sucking impulses, 
heightened by the frustration she has suffered from her 
mother 's breast, create in her an imaginary picture of her 
father's penis as an organ which, unlike the breast, can 
provide her with a tremendous and never-ending oral 
gratification. 2 To this phantasy her urethral-sadistic im- 
pulses add their contribution. For children of both sexes 
attribute far greater urethral capacities to the penis 
where, indeed, they are more visible than to the female 
organ of micturition. The girl's phantasies about the 
urethral capacity and power of the penis become allied to 
her oral phantasies, in virtue of the equation which small 
children make between all bodily substances; and in her 

1 In her paper, *On the Genesis of the Castration Complex* (1924), Karen 
Homey has supported the view that what gives rise to the girl's castration com- 
plex is the frustration she has suffered in the Oedipus situation, and that her 
desire to possess a penis springs primarily from her Oedipus wishes and not 
from her wish to be a man. She looks upon the desired penis as a part of her 
father and as a substitute for him, 

* In her Zur Psyckologie der <weiblichen Sexualfunktionen (1925), Helene 
Deutsch has pointed out that already very early on in her life the small girl, 
in taking her father as the object of her affections next in order to her mother, 
directs towards him a great part of that true sexual libido, attached to the oral 
zone, with which she has cathected her mother's breast, since *in one phase of 
her development her unconscious equates her father's penis with her mother's 
breast as an organ for giving suck\ I also agree with the writer in her view that 
in this equation of the penis with the breast the vagina takes on the passive role 
of tbe sucking mouth 'in the process of displacement from above downwards", 
and that this oral, sucking activity of the vagina is implied by its anatomical 
structure as a whole (S. 54). But whereas according to Helene Deutsch these 
phantasies do not become operative until the girl has reached sexuaJ maturity and 
has experienced the sexual act, in my opinion the early equation of the penis 
with the breast is ushered in by the frustration she has suffered from the breast 
in early childhood, and at once exerts a powerful influence on her and greatly 
affects the whole trend of her development. I also believe that this equation of 
penis and breast, accompanied as it is by a Misplacement from above downwards 1 , 
activates the oral, receptive qualities of the female genital at an early age, and 
prepares the vagina to receive the penis. It thus clears the way for the little girl's 
Oedipus tendencies though these, it is true, do not unfold their full power 
until much later and lays the foundation of her sexual development. 


imagination the penis is an object which possesses magical 
powers of providing oral gratification. But since the oral 
frustration she has suffered from her mother has stimul- 
ated all her other erotogenic zones as well and has aroused 
her genital tendencies and desires in regard to her father's 
penis, the latter becomes the object of her oral, urethral, 
anal and genital impulses all at the same time. Another 
factor which serves to intensify her desires in this direction 
is her unconscious sexual theory that her mother has in- 
corporated her father's penis, and her consequent envy of 
her mother. 

It is the combination of all these factors, I think, which 
endows her father's penis with such enormous virtue in the 
eyes of the small girl and makes it the object of her most 
ardent admiration and desire. 1 If she retains a predomin- 
antly feminine position, this attitude towards her father's 
penis will often lead her to assume a humble and sub- 
missive attitude towards the male sex. But it can also cause 
her to have intense feelings of hatred for having been de- 
nied the thing which she has so passionately adored and 
longed for; and if she takes up a masculine position it can 
give rise to all the signs and symptoms of penis-envy in her. 

But since the small girl's phantasies about the enor- 
mous powers and huge size and strength of her father's 
penis arise from her own oral-, urethral- and anal-sad- 
istic impulses, she will also think of it as having extremely 
dangerous attributes. This aspect of it provides the sub- 
stratum of her terror of the 'bad* penis, which sets in as a 
reaction to the destructive impulses which, in combina- 
tion with the libidinal ones, she has directed towards it. If 
her oral sadism is what is strongest in her she will regard 
her father's penis within her mother principally as a thing 
to be hated, envied and destroyed; 2 and the hate-filled 

1 She invests her mother with some of this glory and will in some cases only 
value her as the possessor of her father's penis. 

1 She will have the same attitude towards the children in her mother's body. 
We shall later on return to this subject and consider in what way her hostility 
to the children inside her mother affects her relations to her own brothers and 
sisters, to her own imaginary children, and, in after years, to her real ones. 


phantasies which she centres upon her father's penis as 
something that is giving her mother gratification will in 
some cases be so intense that they will cause her to displace 
her deepest and most powerful anxiety her fear of her 
mother on to her father's penis as a hated appendage of 
her mother. If this happens, she will suffer severe im- 
pairments in her development and will be led into a 
distorted attitude towards the male sex. She will also have 
a more or less defective relationship to her objects and be 
unable to overcome, or overcome completely, the stage of 
partial love. 1 

In virtue of the omnipotence of thoughts the girl's oral 
desire for her father's penis makes her believe that she has 
in fact incorporated it; and now her ambivalent feelings 
towards it become extended to this internalized penis. As 
we know, in the stage of partial incorporation the object 
is represented by a part of himself or herself and the father's 
penis stands for his whole person. That is why, I think, the 
child's earliest father-images the nucleus of the paternal 
super-ego are represented by his penis. As I have tried to 
show, the terrifying and cruel character of the super-ego 
in children of both sexes is due to the fact that they have 
begun to introject their objects at a period of development 
when their sadism is at its maximum. Their earliest imagos 
assume the phantastic aspect which their own dominant 

1 Cf. Abraham, 'A Short Study of the Development of the Libido* (1924). 
My patient Erna, whose case-history has been related in Chapter III., was a 
typical instance. Her father was in her eyes mainly the bearer of the penis which 
gratified her mother and not herself. It turned out that her penis-envy and her 
castration wishes, which were exceedingly strong-, were ultimately based upon 
the frustration she had experienced in regard to his penis in her oral position. 
Since, in focussing her hatred on his penis, she imagined that her mother had 
possession of it, the feeling she entertained towards her mother, though filled 
with hatred, was a more personal one than what she felt for her father. It is true 
that another reason why she turned away from him was to protect him from her 
own sadism. And the concentration of her hatred on his penis also helped to make 
her spare him as an object (cf. Abraham in this connection). Analysis was able to 
bring out in her a more friendly and human attitude towards her father, and 
this advance was accompanied by favourable changes in her relations with her 
mother and her objects in general. Concerning this relationship to the father's 
penis and the father himself, I should like to draw attention to the points of 
similarity that exist between my patient and two cases that Abraham has 
reported on p. 482 of his above-mentioned work. 



pre-genital impulses have imparted to them. 1 But this im- 
pulsion to introject the father's penis, that is, the Oedipus 
object, and to keep it inside is much stronger in the girl 
than in the boy. For the genital tendencies which accom- 
pany her oral desires have a receptive character too, so that 
under normal circumstances her Oedipus tendencies are 
to a far greater extent under the influence of oral incorpor- 
ative impulses than are those of the boy. It is a matter of 
decisive importance for the formation of the super-ego and 
the development of the sexual life of both boys and girls 
whether their prevailing phantasies are those of a 'good' 
penis or of a 'bad' one. But again the girl, being more sub- 
ordinated to her introjected father, is more at the mercy 
of his powers for good or evil than is the boy in relation to 
his super-ego. 2 And her anxiety and sense of guilt in re- 
gard to her mother serve to complicate still further her 
divided feelings about her father's penis. 

In order to simplify our survey of the whole situation 
we will first of all follow out the development of the girl's 
attitude to her father's penis and then try to discover how 
far her relations with her mother affect her relations with 
her father. In favourable circumstances the girl believes in 
the existence not only of a dangerous, introjected penis, but 
of a beneficent and helpful one. As a result of this ambi- 
valent attitude she will strive to counteract her fear of the 
introjected 'bad' penis by continually introjecting a 'good' 
one in coitus, 3 and this will be a further incentive to her 
to undergo sexual experiences in early childhood and to 
indulge in sexual activities in later life, and will add to her 
libidinal desires for a penis. 

Moreover, her sexual acts, whether in the form of /<?/- 
tatio, coitus per anum or normal coitus, help her to ascertain 

1 Cf. Chapter VIII. 

1 The girl's super-ego is consequently more potent than the boy's; and we 
shall^ later on discuss the effect this has upon her ego-development and object- 

* As we have^already seen in an earlier part of this book, the child's fear of the 
*bad* things inside itself, such as its internalized 'bad' objects, dangerous excre- 
ments and bodily substances, usually encourages it to try every kind of process 
of introjection and ejection and is thus a fundamental factor in its development. 


whether the fears which play such a dominant and funda- 
mental role in her mind in connection with copulation are 
well grounded or not. The reason why copulation has be- 
come fraught with so much peril in the imagination of 
children of both sexes is that their sadistic wish-phantasies 
have transformed that act, as done between their father 
and mother, into a very threatening danger-situation, 1 We 
have already gone into the nature of these sadistic mastur- 
bation phantasies in some detail, and have found that 
they fall into two distinct, though interconnected, cate- 
gories. In those of the first category the child employs 
various sadistic means to make a direct onslaught upon its 
parents either separately or joined in coitus; in those of the 
second, which are derived from a somewhat later period 
of the phase of maximal sadism, its belief in its sadistic 
omnipotence over its parents finds expression in a more 
indirect fashion. It endows them with instruments of 
mutual destruction, transforming their teeth, nails, geni- 
tals, excrements and so on, into dangerous weapons and 
animals, etc., and pictures them, according to its own de- 
sires, as tormenting and destroying each other in the act 
of copulation. 

Both categories of sadistic phantasies give rise to anxiety 
from various sources. Turning once more to the girl, 
we see that in connection with the first category she is 
afraid of being counter-attacked by one or both parents, 
but more particularly by her mother as the more hated one 
of the two. She expects to be assailed from within as well 
as from without, since she has introjected her objects at the 
same time as she has attacked them. Her fears on this head 
are very closely connected with sexual intercourse, be- 
cause her primary sadistic actions have to a very great 

1 The child's wish that its parents should copulate in a sadistic way is in my 
experience an important factor in the production and maintenance of its sexual 
theories, so that the latter not only owe their character to the influence which 
its pre-genital impulses have upon the formation of its phantasies but are the 
result of the destructive wishes it directs against its copulating 1 parents. In 
analysing the child's sexual theories, therefore, I have found it important from 
a therapeutic point of view to pay attention to the fact that they spring from its 
sadistic desires and so give rise to a strong sense of guilt in its mind. 


extent been directed against her parents as she imagined 
them copulating together. 1 But it is more especially in 
phantasies belonging to the second category that copula- 
tion, in which, according to her sadistic desires, her mother 
is utterly destroyed, becomes an act fraught with immense 
danger to herself. On the other hand, the sexual act, 
which her sadistic phantasies and wishes have transformed 
into a situation of such extreme danger, is for this very 
reason also the superlatiye method of mastering anxiety 
the more so because the libidinal gratification that accom- 
panies it affords her the highest attainable pleasure and 
thus lessens her anxiety on its own score. 

These facts throw a new light, I think, on the motives 
which urge the individual to perform the sexual act and 
on the psychological sources from which the libidinal 
gratification he obtains from that act receives addition. As 
we know, the libidinal gratification of all his erotogenic 
zones implies a gratification of his destructive components 
as well, owing to the fusion of his libidinal and destructive 
impulses that has taken place in those stages of his de- 
velopment which are governed by his sadistic tendencies. 
Now, in my opinion, his destructive impulses have aroused 
anxiety in him as early as in the first months of his life. In 
consequence, his sadistic phantasies become bound up 
with anxiety, and this tie between the two gives rise to 
specific anxiety-situations. Since his genital impulses set 
in while he is still in the phase of maximal sadism or so, 
at least, I have found and copulation represents, in his 
sadistic phantasies, a vehicle of destruction for his parents, 
these anxiety-situations which are aroused in the early 
stages of his development become connected with his 
genital activities as well. The effect of such a connection 
is that, on the one hand, his anxiety intensifies his libidinal 
needs, and, on the other, the libidinal gratification of his 
various erotogenic zones helps him to master anxiety by 
diminishing his aggressive tendencies and with it his 

1 These phantasies also give rise to danger-situations which are not in them- 
selves attached to the sexual act. 


anxiety. In addition, the pleasure he gets from such grati- 
fication seems in itself to allay his fear of being destroyed 
by his own destructive impulses and by his objects, and 
to militate against his dread of aphanisis (Jones), /.<?. his 
fear of losing his capacity to obtain sexual gratification. 
Libidinal gratification, as an expression of Eros, reinforces 
his belief in his helpful imagos and diminishes the dangers 
which emanate from his death-instinct and his super-ego. 

The more anxiety the individual has and the more 
neurotic he is, the more the energies of his ego and his 
instinctual forces will be absorbed in the endeavour to 
overcome anxiety; and the more, too, will the libidinal 
gratification he obtains be employed for that purpose. In 
the normal person, who is further removed from his early 
anxiety-situations and has modified them more success- 
fully, the effect of those situations upon his sexual activities 
is, of course, far less; but it is never entirely absent, I 
think. 1 The impulsion he feels to put his specific anxiety- 
situations to the test in his relations to his partner in love 
strengthens and gives colour to his libidinal fixations also, 
and the sexual act always in part helps him to master 
anxiety. And the anxiety-situations which predominate in 
him and the quantities of anxiety present are specific 
determinants of the conditions under which he is able to 

If, in making the sexual act a criterion of her anxiety- 
situations and thus submitting them to a test by reality, 
the girl is supported by feelings of a confident and opti- 
mistic kind, she will be led to take as her object a person 
who represents the 'good' penis. In this case, the allevia- 
tion of anxiety which she obtains through having sexual 
intercourse will give her a strong enjoyment which con- 
siderably adds to the purely libidinal gratification she ex- 
periences and lays the foundations for lasting and satis- 
factory love relationships. But if the circumstances are 
unfavourable and her fear of the introjected 'bad' penis 
predominates, the necessary condition for her ability to 

i Cf. Chapter X. 


love will be that she shall make this reality-test by means 
of a 'bad' penis i.e. that her partner in love shall be 
a sadistic person. The test she makes in this case is 
meant to inform her of what kind of damage her partner 
will inflict on her through the sexual act. Even her antici- 
pated injuries in this respect serve to allay her anxiety 
and are of importance in the economy of her mental 
life; for nothing she may suffer from any external agency 
can equal what she is already suffering under the strain 
of her constant and overwhelming fear of phantastic 
injuries and dangers from within, 1 Her choice of a sadistic 
partner is also based upon an impulsion once more to in- 
corporate a sadistic 'bad' penis (for that is how she views 
the sexual act) which shall destroy the dangerous objects 
within her. Thus the deepest root of feminine masochism 
would seem to be the woman's fear of the dangerous 
objects she has internalized, in especial her father's penis; 
and her masochism would ultimately be no other than her 
sadistic instincts rurned inwards against those internalized 
objects. 2 

According to Freud, 3 sadism, although it first becomes 
apparent in relation to an object, was originally a de- 
structive instinct directed against the organism itself 
(primal sadism) and was only later diverted from the ego 
by the narcissistic libido; and erotogenic masochism is 

1 The tendency the individual has to secure from the external world a tran- 
q utilization of his fears of imaginary dangers from within and from without is, 
I think, an important factor in the repetition-compulsion (cf. Chapter VII.}. 
The more neurotic he is, the more this tendency will be coloured by his need for 
punishment. The conditions to which the securing of such a tranquillization 
from external sources is attached will be increasingly unfavourable in proportion 
as the anxiety connected with his early danger-situations is powerful and his 
optimistic trend of feeling weak. In extreme cases only very severe punishments, 
or rather unhappy experiences which he feels as punishments, are able to fill 
the place of the imaginary punishments which he dreads. 

* In her paper, 'The Significance of Masochism in the Mental Life of Women* 
{*93)> Helene Deutsch expresses views on the origins of masochism which 
differ widely from my own and which are based on the assumption, equally at 
variance with mine, that the Oedipus complex of the girl is introduced by her 
castration-wishes and castration-fears. 

* Cf. his Eeyond the Pkasure-Prmciple, 1920, and 'The Economic Problem 
in Masochism* (1924). 


that portion of the destructive instinct which has not been 
able to be turned outward in this way and has remained 
within the organism and been libidinally bound there. He 
furthermore thinks that in so far as any part of the de- 
structive instinct which has been directed outward is once 
more turned inwards and drawn away from its objects, 
it gives rise to secondary or feminine masochism. As 
far as I can see, however, when the destructive instinct 
has reverted in this way it still adheres to its objects; 
but now they are internalized ones, and, in threatening to 
destroy them, it also threatens to destroy the ego in which 
they are situated. In this way in feminine masochism the de- 
structive instinct is once more directed against the organism 
itself. Freud says in his 'Economic Problem in Masochism* 
(1924): *. . . in the manifest content of the masochistic 
phantasies a feeling of guilt comes to expression, it being 
assumed that the subject has committed some crime (the 
nature of which is left uncertain) which is to be expiated by 
his undergoing pain and torture' (p. 2 5 9). There seem tome 
to be certain points in common between the self-torment- 
ing behaviour of the masochist and the self-reproaches of 
the melancholiac, which, as we know, are in fact directed 
towards his introjected object. It would seem, therefore, 
that feminine masochism is directed towards the ego as 
well as towards the introjected objects. Moreover, in de- 
stroying his internalized object the individual is acting in 
the interests of self-preservation ; and in extreme cases his 
ego will no longer be able to turn his death-instinct out- 
wards, for both life and death-instincts have united in a 
common aim and the former has been withdrawn from its 
proper function of protecting the ego. 

We will now briefly consider one or two other typical 
forms which may be assumed by the sexual life of women 
in whom fear of the introjected penis is paramount. 1 

1 Of course, these various forms overlap in many cases. In dealing; with such 
a wealth and complication of material I can do no more than give a schematic 
account of one or two such forms, my main object being 1 to describe a few of 
the consequences that arise from this most fundamental anxiety in the female 


Women who, besides having strong masochistic inclina- 
tions, are buoyed up by more hopeful currents of feeling, 
often tend to entrust their affections to a sadistic partner 
and at the same time to make endeavours of every kind 
endeavours which often take up all the energies of 
their ego to turn him into a friendly and 'good' person. 
Women of this kind, in whom fear of the 'bad 7 penis and 
belief in the 'good 1 one are evenly balanced, often fluctuate 
between the choice of a 'good' external object and a 'bad' one. 

Not seldom the woman's fear of the internalized penis 
urges her to be always renewing the process of testing her 
anxiety-situation, with the result that she will be under a 
constant compulsion to perform the sexual act with her 
object, or, as a variant to this, to exchange that object for 
another. In differently constituted cases, again, the same 
fear will have an opposite outcome and the woman will 
become frigid. 1 As a child, her hatred of her mother has 
made her view her father's penis no longer as a desirable 
and bountiful thing but as something evil and dangerous, 
and has made her transform the vagina into an instrument 
of death and her mother into a source of danger to her 
father in his sexual relations with her. Her fear of the 
sexual act is thus based both on the injuries she expects to 
receive from the penis and on the injuries she will herself 
inflict on her partner. Her fear that she will castrate him 
is due partly to her identification with her sadistic mother 
and partly to her own sadistic impulses. 

As we have already seen, if the girl's sadistic tendencies 
are directed towards her internalized objects, she will adopt 
a masochistic attitude. But should her fear of the internal- 

1 Such an outcome depends greatly, It would seem, upon the extent to which 
the ego is able to overcome anxiety. As we learnt in the last chapter, it some- 
times happens that the individual can master his anxiety (or rather, transform 
it into pleasure) only on condition that the reality-situations which he has to 
surmount are of a particularly difficult or dangerous nature. We sometimes find 
similar conditions laid down for his love-relations, in which case copulation 
itself represents the danger-situation. Hence frigidity in women would in part 
be due to a phobic avoidance of an anxiety-situation. As far as can be seen, 
there is a close relation between specific conditions of mastering anxiety and of 
obtaining sexual gratification. 


ized penis impel her to defend herself against its threats 
from within by projection, she will direct her sadism to- 
wards the external object towards the penis which is con- 
tinually being introjected afresh in the act of coitus, and 
thus towards her sexual partner. In such cases, the ego has 
once more succeeded in turning the destructive instinct 
away from itself and from the internalized objects and in 
directing it towards an external object. If the girl's sadistic 
tendencies predominate, she will still regard copulation as 
a test by reality of her anxiety, but in an opposite way. 
Her phantasies that her vagina and body as a whole are 
destructive to her partner and that in fellatio she will bite 
off his penis and tear it to pieces are now the means of over- 
coming her fear of the penis she has incorporated and of 
her real object. In employing her sadism against her ex- 
ternal object she is in imagination also waging a war of 
extermination against her internalized objects. 

The Omnipotence of Excreta 

In connection with what has just been said we come to 
a factor which is of considerable importance for the de- 
velopment of the girl. In the sadistic phantasies of both 
boy and girl the excreta play a large part. The child's belief 
in the omnipotence of the function of the bladder and the 
bowels 1 is closely connected with paranoid mechanisms.* 
These mechanisms are in full swing in that phase in which, 
in its sadistic masturbation phantasies, the child destroys 
its copulating parents in secret ways by means of its urine, 
faeces and flatus; 3 and they become reinforced and em- 
ployed in a secondary way for defensive purposes on 
account of its fear of being counter-attacked/ 

1 Cf. Freud, Totem und Tabu (1912); also, Ferenczi, 'Stages in the Develop- 
ment of a Sense of Reality* (1913)? and Abraham, 'The Narcissistic Evaluation 
of Excretory Processes in Dreams and Neurosis* (1917). 

* For the connection between paranoia and anal functions, cf. Freud, 
Ferenczi, Von Ophuijsen, Starcke and others. 

Cf. Chapter X. 

4 Sadistic omnipotence of this kind, used primarily to destroy the parents 
or one of them by means of the excreta, becomes modified in the coune of the 


As far as I can judge, the girl's sexual life and ego are 
more strongly and permanently influenced in their de- 
velopment than are those of the boy by this sense of 
omnipotence of the function of the bladder and bowels. 
In children of both sexes the attacks they make with their 
excreta are levelled at their mother, in the first instance at 
her breast and then at the interior of her body. Since the 
girl's destructive impulses against her mother's body are 
more powerful and enduring than the boy's 3 she will evolve 
secret and cunning methods of attack^ based upon the 
magic of excrements and other products of her body and 
upon the omnipotence of her thoughts, in conformity with 
the secret and hidden nature of that world within her 
mother's body and her own ;* whereas the boy will concen- 
trate his feelings of hatred not only on his father's penis, 
supposedly inside his mother, but on his real one, and thus 
directs them to a larger extent towards the external world 
and what is tangible and visible. He also makes greater use 
of the sadistic omnipotence of his penis, with the result 
that he has other modes of mastering anxiety as well, 2 while 

child's development and is often employed to inflict moral pain on the object or 
to control and dominate it intellectually. Owing to this modification and because 
the child now makes its attacks in a secret and Insidious fashion and has to display 
an equal watchfulness and mental ingenuity in guarding- against counter- 
attacks of a corresponding character, its original sense of omnipotence becomes 
of fundamental importance for the growth of its ego. In his paper referred to 
above, Abraham takes the view that the omnipotence of the functions of the 
bladder and bowels is a precursor of the omnipotence of thoughts; and in his 
paper, *The Madonna's Conception through the Ear' (1923), Ernest Jones has 
shown that thoughts are equated to flatus. I too think that the child equates 
its faeces, and more especially its invisible flatus, with that other secret and in- 
visible substance, its thoughts, and furthermore that it imagines that in its covert 
attacks on its mother's body it has put them inside her by magic means. (Cf 
Chapter VIII. of this book.) V 

1 The_fact that the woman attaches her narcissism to her body as a whole 
must be in part due to her connecting her sense of omnipotence with her various 
bodily functions and excretory processes, and thus distributing it to a greater 
extent over the whole of her body, whereas the man focusses it more upon his 
genitals. After all, in the last analysis it is through her body that she captures 
and controls her real objects by magic means. 

2 In this chapter and in the next we shall consider how the anatomical differ- 
ences between the sexes contribute to separate the lines along which the sense 
of omnipotence and consequently the modes of mastering anxiety develop in 
each sex. 


the woman's mode of mastering anxiety remains under the 
dominion of her relation to an inner world, to what is con- 
cealed, and therefore to the unconscious. 1 

As has already been said, when the girl's sadism is at 
its greatest height she believes that the sexual act is a 
means of destroying the object and that she is also carrying 
on a war to the knife against the internalized objects. She 
endeavours through the omnipotence of her excrements 
and thoughts to overcome the terrifying objects inside her 
own body and originally inside her mother's. If her belief 
in her father's 'good' penis inside her is strong enough she 
will make it the vehicle of her sense of omnipotence, 2 If her 
belief in the magical power of her excreta and thoughts 
preponderates, it will be through their power that she will 
in imagination govern and control both her internalized and 
her real objects. Not only do these different sources of 
magical power operate at the same time and reinforce one 
another, but her ego makes use of them and plays them off 
against one another for the purpose of mastering anxiety. 

Early Relations to the Mother 

The girl's attitude to the introjected penis is strongly 
influenced by her attitude to her mother's breast. The first 
objects that she introjects are her 'good' mother and her 
'bad' one, as represented by the breast. 3 Her desire to 
suck or devour the penis is directly derived from her 
desire to do the same to her mother's breast, so that the 

1 In my 'Contribution to the Theory of Intellectual Inhibition* (1931) 
I have shown that in his unconscious the individual regards his penis as the 
representative of his ego and his conscious, and the interior of his body what 
is invisible as the representative of his super-ego and his unconscious. (Cf. also 
Chapter XII. of this book.) 

2 In her paper, "The Role of Psychotic Mechanisms in Cultural Development* 
(1930), Melitta Schmideberg has shown that the introjection of his father's penis 
(=his father) greatly enhances the individual's narcissism and sense of omni- 

3 In Chapter VIII. we saw how the 'good* breast becomes turned into a 'bad* 
one in consequence of the child's imaginary attacks upon it (for the child directs 
all the resources of its sadism in the first instance against the breast for not giving 
it enough gratification), so that a primary introjection of both a good and a bad 
mother-imago takes place before any other imagos are formed. 


frustration she suffers from the breast prepares the way 
for the feelings which her later frustration in regard to 
the penis arouse. Not only do the envy and hatred she 
feels towards her mother colour and intensify her sadistic 
phantasies against the penis, but her relations to the 
mother's breast affect her subsequent attitude towards 
men in other ways as well. As soon as she begins to be 
afraid of the 'bad* introjected penis she also begins to run 
back to her mother, from whom, both as a real person 
and as an introjected figure, she hopes for assistance. If 
her primary attitude to her mother has been governed 
by the oral-sucking position, so that it contains strong 
currents of positive and optimistic feeling, she will be able 
to take shelter to some extent behind her good mother- 
imago against her bad mother-imago and against the 'bad' 
penis; if not, her fear of her introjected mother will in- 
crease her fear of the internalized penis and of her terrify- 
ing parents united in copulation. 

The importance which the girl's mother-imago has for 
her as a 'helping* figure and the strength of her attachment 
to her mother are very great, since in her imagination her 
mother is the possessor of the nourishing breast and the 
father's penis and children and thus has the power to 
gratify all her needs. For when the small girl's early 
anxiety-situations set in, her ego makes use of her need for 
nourishment in the widest sense to assist her in over- 
coming anxiety. The more she is afraid that her body is 
poisoned and exposed to attack, the more she craves for 
the 'good' milk, 'good' penis and children x over which she 
believes her mother has unlimited command. She needs 
these 'good' things to protect her against the 'bad' ones, 
and to establish a kind of equilibrium inside her. In her 
imagination her mother's body is therefore a kind of store- 
house which contains the gratification of all her desires and 
the appeasement of all her fears. It is these phantasies, 

1 We shall presently enquire in greater detail into the deeper significance 
attached to the possession of children. It suffices here to remark that the imaginary 
child inside the body represents a helpful object. 


leading back to her mother's breast as her earliest source 
of gratification and as the one most fraught with conse- 
quences, which are responsible for her immensely strong 
attachment to her mother. And the frustration she suffers 
from her mother in this connection causes her, under the 
rising pressure of her anxiety, to feel renewed resentment 
against her and to redouble her sadistic attacks upon her 

At a somewhat later stage of her development, however, 
at a time when her sense of guilt is making itself felt in 
every quarter, 1 this very desire to get hold of the 'good* 
contents of her mother's body, or rather her conviction 
that she has done so and thus exposed her mother, as it 
were, to its 'bad' contents, arouses a most severe sense of 
guilt and anxiety in her. In having thus destroyed her 
mother she has, she believes, completely demolished that 
reservoir from which she draws the satisfaction of all her 
moral and physical needs. This fear, which is of such tre- 
mendous importance in the mental life of the small girl, 
foes to strengthen still further the ties that bind her to 
er mother. It gives rise to an impulsion to make restitu- 
tion and give her mother back all that she has taken from 
her an, impulsion which finds expression in numerous 
sublimations of a specifically feminine kind. 

But this impulsion runs counter to another impulsion, 
itself stimulated by the same fear, to take away everything 
her mother has got so as to save her own body. At this 
stage of her development, therefore, the girl is governed 
by a compulsion both to take away and to give back, and 
this compulsion, as has elsewhere been said, 2 is important 
in the aetiology of obsessional neurosis in general. For 
instance, we see small children drawing little stars or 
crosses, which signify faeces and children, or older ones 
writing letters and numbers, on a sheet of paper that stands 

1 It must be remembered that in her imagination, besides having- attacked her 
parents, the girl has injured or killed her brothers and sisters inside her mother. 
Her fear of retaliation and her sense of guilt on account of this give rise to dis- 
turbances in her relation to her real brothers and sisters and consequently in her 
capacity for social adaptation in general. * Cf. 

consequently in 
f. Chapter IX. 


for their mother's body or their own, and taking great care 
to leave no empty spaces. Or else they will pile up pieces 
of paper neatly in a box until it is quite full. Very fre- 
quently they will draw a house to represent their mother, 
and then put a tree in front of it for their father's penis 
and some flowers beside it for children. Older girls will 
draw or sew or make dolls and dolls' dresses or books, 
etc.; and these things typify their mother's reconstituted 
body (either as a whole or each damaged part individually), 
their father's penis and the children inside her, or their 
father and brothers and sisters in person. 

While they are engaged in these activities or after they 
have completed them, children will often show "rage, de- 
pression or disappointment, or even reactions of a destruc- 
tive kind. Anxiety of this kind, which is an underlying 
obstacle to all constructive tendencies, arises from various 
sources. 1 The girl has in imagination taken possession of 
her father's penis and faeces and children, and then, owing 
to the fear of penis, children and excrements that sets in 
with her sadistic phantasies, she loses faith in their right- 
ness. The questions in her mind now are: will the things 
she gives back to her mother be 'good', and can she give 
them back properly as regards quality and quantity and 
even as regards the order in which they should be arranged 
inside (for that, too, is a necessary part of the act of resti- 
tution)? Again, if she does believe that she has well and 
duly given her mother back the 'good* contents of her 
body she becomes afraid of having endangered her own 
person by -so doing. 

These sources of anxiety give rise, furthermore, to a 
special attitude of distrust in the girl towards her mother. 
On entering my room many of my girl patients will look 
suspiciously at the stock of paper and pencils in the drawer 
reserved for them, in case they should not belong to them 
or be smaller in size or fewer in number than on the day 

1 If anxiety is so strong that it cannot be bound by obsessional mechanisms, 
the violent mechanisms belonging to earlier stages will be brought into play, 
together with the more primitive defensive mechanisms employed by the ego. 


before; or they will want to make sure that the contents 
of their drawer have not been disarranged, and that all is in 
good order and no article is missing or exchanged for 
something else. 1 From time to time they will wrap up their 
drawings or paper patterns, or whatever is symbolizing the 
penis or children for them at the time, tie them up and 
carefully deposit them in their drawer of toys, with every 
sign of the deepest suspicion towards me. On these occa- 
sions I am not allowed to come near the parcel or even the 
drawer and must move away or not look on while it is 
being done up. Analysis shows that the drawer and the 
parcels inside represent their own body and that they are 
afraid not only that their mother will attack and despoil it but 
will put 'bad 7 things inside it in exchange for the 'good' ones. 
In addition to these many sources of anxiety the girl 
child is under certain further disabilities compared to the 
boy, owing to physiological reasons. Her feminine position 
gives her no support against her anxiety, 2 since her posses- 
sion of children, which would be a complete confirmation 
and fulfilment of that position, is, after all, only a prospect- 
ive one. 3 Nor does the structure of her body afford her any 
possibility of knowing what the actual state of affairs inside 
her is; whereas the boy finds support in his masculine 
position, for, thanks to his possession of a penis, he has the 
means of convincing himself by a reality-test that all is well 
within. It is this inability to know anything about her con- 
dition which aggravates what, in my opinion, is the girl's 
deepest fear namely, that the inside of her body has been 
injured or destroyed and that she has got no children or 
only damaged ones. 4 

1 I may mention that each child has a drawer of its own in which the toys, 
paper and pencils, etc., which I put out for it at the beginning of its hour and 
renew from time to time, are put away, together with the things it brings from 

1 Cf. my 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict' (1928). 

1 In her paper, 'The Significance of Masochism in the Mental Life of Women* 
(1930), Helene Deutsch points out this fact as an obstacle to the maintenance of 
the feminine position. 

4 This is partly the reason why female narcissism extends over the whole 
body. Male narcissism is focussed upon the penis because the boy's chief fear is 
of being castrated. 


The Role of the Vagina in Infantile Sexuality 

The fact that the female child's anxiety concerns the 
inside of her body explains to a large extent, I think, why in 
her early sexual organization the part played by the vagina 
should be overshadowed by the activity of the clitoris. In 
her very earliest masturbation phantasies, in which she 
transforms her mother's vagina into an instrument of de- 
struction, she shows an unconscious knowledge about the 
vagina. For although, owing to the predominance of her 
oral and anal tendencies, she likens it to the mouth and to 
the anus, she nevertheless thinks of it in her unconscious, 
as many details of her phantasies clearly demonstrate, as 
a cavity in the genitals which is meant to receive her 
father's penis. 

But besides this general unconscious realization of the 
existence of the vagina the small girl often possesses a quite 
conscious knowledge of it. Analysis of a number of small 
girls has convinced me that, in addition to those quite 
special cases mentioned by Helene Deutsch 1 in which the 
patient has undergone sexual assault and defloration and 
has in consequence obtained a knowledge of this sort and 
been led to indulge in vaginal masturbation, many small 
girls are consciously aware that they have an opening 
in their genitals. In some instances they have got this 
knowledge from mutual investigations made during sexual 
games with other children, whether boys or girls ; in others, 
they have discovered the vagina for themselves. They un- 
doubtedly have a specially strong inclination to deny or re- 
press such knowledge an inclination which springs from 
the anxiety they feel in regard to this organ and to the 
inside of their body. Analyses of women have shown that 
the fact that the vagina is a part of the interior of their 
body, to which so much of their deepest anxiety is attached, 
and that it is the organ which they regard as pre-eminently 
dangerous and endangered in their sadistic phantasies 
about copulation between their parents, is of fundamental 

1 Loc.ctt. 


importance in giving rise to sexual disturbances and frigid- 
ity in them and, in particular, in inhibiting vaginal 

There is a good deal of evidence to show that the vagina 
does not enter upon its full functions until the sexual act 
has been performed. 1 And, as we know, it often happens 
that the woman's attitude to copulation is completely 
altered after she has experienced it and that her inhibition 
in regard to it and, before the event, such an inhibition is 
so usual as to be practically normal is often replaced by a 
strong desire for it. We may infer from this that her pre- 
vious inhibition was in part maintained by anxiety and that 
the sexual act has removed that anxiety. 2 I should be in- 
clined to attribute this reassuring effect of sexual inter- 
course to the fact that the libidinal gratification which she 
receives from copulation confirms her in the belief that the 
penis she has incorporated during the act is a 'good* object 
and that her vagina does not have a destructive effect upon 
it. Her fear of the internalized and external penis a fear 
which has been all the greater from being unverifiable is 
thus removed by the real object. In my view, the girl's 
fears concerning the inside of her body contribute, in addi- 
tion to the operation of biological factors, to prevent the 
emergence of a clearly discernible vaginal phase in her 
early childhood. Nevertheless I am convinced, on the 
strength of a number of analyses of small girls$ that the 
psychological representatives of the vagina exert their full 
share of influence, no less than the psychological repre- 
sentatives of all the other libidinal phases, upon the in- 
fantile genital organization of the female child. 

The same factors which tend to conceal the psychologi- 
cal function of the vagina in the girl go to intensify her 
fixation on the clitoris. For the latter is a visible organ and 
one which can be submitted to reality tests. I have found 
that clitoral masturbation is accompanied by phantasies of 

1 Helene Deutsch supports this view in her book, Zttr Psychologic ckr woeib- 
Ucken Sexualfunktionen (1925). 

1 We have already considered the structure of those cases in which the sexual 
act fails to reduce anxiety and even increases it. 



various descriptions. Their content changes extremely 
rapidly, in accordance with the violent fluctuations which 
take place between one position and another in the early 
stages of the girPs development. They are at first for the 
most part of a pre-genital kind; but as soon as the girl's 
desires to incorporate her father's penis in an oral and 
genital manner grow stronger they assume a genital and 
vaginal character (being often already accompanied, it 
would seem, by vaginal sensations) and thus, to begin with, 
take a feminine direction. 1 

Since the little girl begins to identify herself with her 
father very soon after she has identified herself with her 
mother, her clitoris rapidly takes on the significance of a 
penis in her masturbation phantasies. All her clitoral mas- 
turbation phantasies belonging to this early stage are gov- 
erned by her sadistic tendencies, and that is why, I think, 
they, and her masturbatory activities in general, diminish 
or cease altogether when her phallic phase comes to an end, 
at a period when her sense of guilt emerges more strongly. 
Her realization of the fact that her clitoris is no substitute 
for the penis she desires is, in my opinion, only the last 
link in a chain of events which orders her future life and in 
many cases condemns her to frigidity for the rest of her 

The Castration Complex 

The identification with her father which the girl dis- 
plays so clearly in the phallic phase, and which bears every 
sign of penis-envy and castration complex, 2 is, as far as my 
own observations go, the outcome of a process comprising 
many steps. 3 In examining some of the more important of 

1 In his paper, *One of the Motive Factors in the Formation of the Super- 
Ego in Women' (1928), Hanns Sachs has suggested the possibility that, since a 
vaginal phase cannot establish itself at that age, the girl displaces her obscure 
sensations in the vagina on to the mouth. 

1 Cf. Abraham, 'Manifestations of the Female Castration Complex* (1921). 

* Karen Homey has been the first psycho-analyst to bring the castration com- 
plex of the woman into relation with her early feminine position as a small girl. 
In her paper, *On the Genesis of the Castration Complex in Women' (1923), 


these steps we shall see in what way her identification with 
her father is affected by anxiety arising from her feminine 
position and how the masculine position she adopts in each 
of her phases of development is superimposed upon a mas- 
culine position belonging to an earlier phase. 

When the female infant gives up her mother's breast 
and turns to her father's penis as an object of gratification 
she identifies herself with her mother. But as soon as she 
suffers frustration in this position too, she very speedily 
identifies herself with her father, who, she imagines, ob- 
tains satisfaction from her mother's breast and entire body, 
that is, from those primary sources of gratification which 
she herself has been so painfully forced to relinquish. Feel- 
ings of hatred and envy towards her mother as well as 
libidinal desires for her go to create this earliest identifica- 
tion of the girl with her father (whom she regards as a 
sadistic figure); and in this identification enuresis plays 
an important role. 

Children of both sexes regard urine in its positive aspect 
as equivalent to their mother's milk, in accordance with 
the unconscious, which equates all bodily substances with 
one another. My observations go to show that enuresis, 
in its earliest signification both as a positive, giving act 
and as a sadistic one, is an expression of a feminine 
position in boys as well as in girls. 1 It would seem that 
the hatred children feel towards their mother's breast for 
having frustrated their desires arouses in them, either at 
the same time as their cannibalistic impulses or very soon 

this writer has pointed out certain factors which she believes are material in 
establishing in the girl an envy of the penis based on pre-genital cathexes. One 
of these is the gratification of scoptophilic and exhibitionistic tendencies which 
she notices that the boy obtains from urinating; another is her belief that 
possession of a penis affords a greater amount of gratification of urethra! erotism; 
while others are derived from the difficulties that beset her in regard to her 
feminine position such as envy of her mother for having children and in- 
crease her tendency to identify herself with her father as well as intensifying her 
penis-envy. Dr. Horney believes, moreover, that the same factors which induce 
the girl to take up a homosexual attitude lead, though in a minor degree, to the 
production of a castration complex in her. 

1 According to Helene Deutsch enuresis is the expression of a. feminine 
position in the boy and a masculine one in the girl (Psychoanalyse der Nzurosen, 
1930, S. 51). 


after, phantasies of Injuring and destroying her breast 
with their urine. 1 

As has already been said, in the sadistic phase the girl 
puts her greatest belief in the magical powers of her ex- 
creta, while the boy makes his penis the principal executant 
of his sadism* But in her, too, belief in the omnipotence of 
her urinary functions leads her to identify herself though 
to a lesser extent than does the boy with her sadistic 
father, to whom she attributes special urethral-sadistic 
powers in virtue of his possession of a penis, 2 Thus incon- 
tinence from having been primarily the expression of a 
feminine position very soon comes to represent a masculine 
one for children of both sexes; and in connection with the 
girl's earliest identification with her sadistic father it be- 
comes a means of destroying her mother; while at the same 
time she gets hold of her father's penis in her imagination 
by castrating him. 

The identification which the female child makes be- 
tween herself and her father on the basis of his introjected 
penis a follows, in my experience, upon the primary sadistic 

1 In doing this they make use of a mechanism which is, I think, of general 
importance in the formation of sadistic phantasies. They convert the pleasure 
they give their object into its opposite by adding destructive elements to it. As 
a revenge for not getting enough milk from their mother they will produce in 
imagination an excessive quantity of urine and so destroy her breast by flooding 
it or melting it away; and as a revenge for not getting 'good* milk from her they 
will produce a harmful fluid with which to burn up or poison her breast and 
the milk it contains. This mechanism also gives rise to phantasies of tormenting 
and injuring people by giving them too much good food. In this case the 
subject may suffer, as I have found in more than one instance, from the re- 
taliatory anxiety of being suffocated or of being too full, etc., in connection with 
taking food. One patient of mine could hardly control his rage if he was offered, 
even in the friendliest way, food, drink or cigarettes a second time. He would 
immediately feel 'stuffed up* and would lose all desire to eat, drink or smoke any 
more. Analysis showed that his behaviour was ultimately caused by phantasies 
of the early sadistic character described above. 

* In her paper, *On the Genesis of the Castration Complex in Women* (1923), 
Karen Homey states that one of the factors which encourage the girl's primary 
penis-envy in connection with her urethral-eroric impulses is that her sadistic 
phantasies of omnipotence which are based on urinary functions are especially 
closely associated with the stream of urine which the boy is able to produce. 

* In considering the origins of homosexuality in women, Ernest Jones in his 
paper, 'The Early Development of Female Sexuality" (1927), has come to certain 
very fundamental conclusions which my own findings fully endorse. Briefly, 
they are to the effect that the presence of very strong phantasies of fellatio in the 


identification she has made with him through her urin- 
ary incontinence. In her earliest masturbation phantasies 
she has identified herself alternately with each of her 
parents. When she occupies the feminine position she be- 
comes afraid of her father's 'bad* penis which she has in- 
ternalized. In order to counter this fear she activates the 
defensive mechanism of identification with the anxiety- 
object 1 and thus identifies herself more strongly with him. 
Her imaginary ownership of the penis she has stolen from 
him arouses a sense of omnipotence which increases her 
feeling that she wields destructive magic through her ex- 
creta. In this position her hatred and sadism against her 
mother becomes intensified and she has phantasies of de- 
stroying her by means of her father's penis ; while at the 
same time she satisfies her feelings of revenge against the 
father who has frustrated her and finds in her sense of 
omnipotence and in her power over both parents a defence 
against anxiety. I have found this attitude . especially 
strongly developed in one or two patients in whom para- 
noid traits predominated; 2 but it is also very powerfiil in 
women whose homosexuality is deeply coloured by feel- 
ings of rivalry and antagonism towards the male sex. It 
would thus apply to that group of female homosexuals, 
described by Ernest Jones, to which I have referred below 
in a footnote. 

At this juncture the possession of an external penis helps 

female, allied to a powerful oral sadism, prepares the way for a belief that she 
has taken forcible possession of her father's penis and puts her into a special 
relation of identification with him. In her homosexual attitude, derived in this 
way, she will show a want of interest in her own sex and a strong- interest in men. 
Her endeavour will be to win recognition and respect from men, and she will 
have strong feelings of rivalry, hatred and resentment against them. As regards 
character-formation, she will exhibit in general marked oral-sadistic traits; and 
her identification with her father will be employed to a great degree in the 
service of her castration wishes. 

1 Cf. Chapter VII. 

2 The reader may be referred in general to the case-history of Erna in Chapter 
III.; DUt one characteristic point may be cited from it here. At the age of six 
Erna suffered from severe insomnia. She had a terror of burglars and thieves 
which she could only overcome by lying on her stomach and banging her head 
on the pillows. This meant having sadistic coitus with her mother, in which she 
played the part of her supposedly sadistic father. 


to convince the girl in the first place that she has in reality 
got that sadistic power over both her parents without 
which she cannot master her anxiety, 1 and, in the second 
place, that by having this sadistic power over her objects 
she can overcome the dangerous penis and objects intro- 
jected within her; so that having a penis ultimately serves 
the purpose of protecting her body from destruction. 

While her sadistic position, reinforced as it is by her 
anxiety, thus forms the basis of a masculinity complex in 
her, her sense of guilt also makes her want to have a 
penis. She wants a penis in order to make restitution to- 
wards her mother. As Joan Riviere has observed in the 
paper referred to below, the girl's wish to compensate 
her mother for having deprived her of her father's penis 
furnishes important additions to her castration complex 
and penis-envy. When the girl is obliged to give up her 
rivalry with her mother out of fear of her, her desire to 
placate her and make up for what she has done leads her to 
long intensely for a penis as a means of making restitution. 
In Joan Riviere's opinion the intensity of her sadism and 
the extent of her capacity to tolerate anxiety are factors 
which will help to determine whether she will take up a 
heterosexual line or a homosexual one. 

We must now examine more closely why it is that in 
some cases the girl cannot make restitution to her mother 
unless she adopts a masculine position and is in possession 
of a penis. Early analysis 2 has demonstrated the existence 
in the unconscious of a fundamental principle governing 
all reactive and sublimatory processes, by which restitutive 
acts must adhere in every detail to the imaginary damage 
that has been done. Whatever wrongs the child has done 
in phantasy in the way of stealing, injuring, and destroying 

1 In her paper, 'Womanliness as a Masquerade* (1929), p. 303, Joan Riviere 
has pointed out that in her anger and hatred against her parents for giving one 
another sexual gratification the girl has phantasies of castrating her father and 
taking possession of his penis and thus getting her father and mother into her 
power and killing them. 

* On this, as on many other important points, my analytic observations are 
in full agreement with those of M. N. Searl. 


it must make good by giving back, putting to rights, and 
restoring, one by one. This principle also requires that 
the same instruments that have been used to commit the 
bad actions shall also be used to undo them. The child must 
transform its excretions, penis, etc., which in its sadistic 
phantasies are dangerous and destructive substances, into 
beneficent and remedial ones. Whatever harm the *bad' 
penis and 'bad' urine have done, the 'good* penis and 
*good* urine must put right again. 1 

Let us suppose that a girl has centred her sadistic phan- 
tasies more especially around the indirect destruction of 
her mother by her father's dangerous penis and that 
she has identified herself very strongly with her sadistic 
father. As soon as her reactive tendencies and her desires 
to make restitution set in in force, she will feel urged to 
restore her mother by means of a beneficent penis and 
thus her homosexual tendencies will become reinforced. 
An important factor in this connection is the extent to 
which she believes that her father has been incapacitated 
from making restitution, either because she has castrated 
him or has put him out of the way or has made his penis 
too 'bad', and that she must therefore give up hope of 
restoring him. 2 If she believes this very strongly she will 
have to play his part herself, and this again will tend to 
make her adopt a homosexual position. 

The disappointment and doubts and the sense of in- 
feriority which overtake the girl when she realizes that she 

1 In her 'Psychotic Mechanisms in Cultural Development* (1930) Melitta 
Schmideberg traces the part played in the history of medicine by a belief 
in the magical qualities of the 'good' penis, as symbolized by medicine, and 
of the *bad* one, as symbolized by the demon of illness. She attributes the 
psychological effects of physical remedies to the following causes. The person's 
original attitude of aggression against his father's penis an attitude which has 
turned that organ into an extremely dangerous one is succeeded by an attitude 
of obedience and submission towards him. If he takes the medicines he is given 
in this latter spirit, they, as representing the 'good* penis, will counteract the 
*bad* objects inside him. 

* If her homosexuality emerges in sublimated ways only, she will, for instance, 
protect and take care of other women (z>. her mother), adopting in these respects 
a husband*s attitude towards them, and will have but little interest in the male 
sex. Ernest Jones has shown that this attitude develops in female homosexuals in 
whom the oral-sucking fixation is very strong. 


has not got a penis, and the fears and feelings of guilt which 
her masculine position gives rise to (in the first place to- 
wards her father because she has deprived him of his penis 
and of the possession of her mother, and in the second 
place towards her mother because she has taken her father 
away from her), combine to break down that position. 
Moreover, her original grievance against her mother for 
having prevented her from getting her father's penis as a 
libidinal object joins forces with her new grievance against 
her for having withheld from her the possession of a penis 
as an attribute of masculinity; and this double grievance 
leads her to turn away from her mother as an object of 
genital love. On the other hand, her feelings of hatred 
against her father and her envy of his penis, which arise 
from her masculine position, stand in the way of her once 
more adopting a feminine role. 

According to my experience, the girl, after having left the 
phallic phase, passes through yet another phase, a post- 
phallic one, in which she makes her choice between retain- 
ing the feminine position and abandoning it. I should say 
that by the time she has entered upon the latency period her 
feminine position, which has attained the genital level and 
is passive 1 and maternal in character and which involves the 
functioning of her vagina, or at least of its psychological 
representatives, has been established in all its fundamen- 
tals. That this is so becomes still more probable when we 
consider how frequently small girls take up a genuinely 
feminine and maternal position. A position of this kind 
would be unthinkable unless the vagina was behaving as 
a receptive organ. Of course, as has already been pointed 
out, important alterations take place in the functions of 
the vagina as a result of the biological changes the girl 
undergoes at puberty and of her experience of the sexual 
act; and it is these alterations which bring the girl's de- 
velopment to its final stage from a psychological point of 

1 Helene Deutsch also believes that the true passive feminine attitude of the 
vagina is to be found in its oral and sucking activity (Zur Psychologic der 
wibtichen Sextudfunhionen^ 1925). 


view as well and which make her a woman in the full 
sense of the word. 

In this connection I find myself in agreement on many 
points with Karen Horney's paper, 'The Flight from 
Womanhood' (1926), in which she comes to the conclu- 
sion that the vagina plays a part in the early life of the 
female child as well as the clitoris. She points out that it 
would be reasonable to infer from the appearance of frigid- 
ity in women that the vaginal zone is more likely to be 
strongly cathected with anxiety and defensive affects than 
the clitoris. She believes that the girTs incestuous wishes 
and phantasies have been correctly referred by her uncon- 
scious to the vagina and that her frigidity in later life is 
the manifestation of a defensive measure undertaken 
against them by her ego on account of the great danger 
they involve for it I also share Karen Horney's opinion that 
the girl's inability to obtain any certain knowledge about 
the conformation of her vagina or, unlike the boy who can 
inspect his genitals, to submit it to a reality test in order 
to find out whether it has been overtaken by the dreaded 
consequences of masturbation tends to increase her genital 
anxiety and makes her more likely to adopt a masculine 
position. Karen Horney furthermore distinguishes between 
the girl's secondary penis-envy, which emerges in the 
phallic phase, and her primary penis-envy, which rests 
upon certain pre-genital cathexes such as scoptophilia and 
urethral erotism. She believes that the girl's secondary 
penis-envy is used to repress her feminine desires; and 
that when her Oedipus complex is given up she invariably 
though not always to the same degree relinquishes 
her father as a sexual object and moves away from the 
feminine role, regressing at the same time to her primary 

The views I put forward a few years ago concerning 
the final stage of the girl's genital organization 1 agree in 
many essentials with those which Ernest Jones came to 
at about the same time. In his paper, 'The Early Develop- 

1 Cf* my "Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (19*8). 


ment of Female Sexuality' (1927), he suggests that the 
vaginal functions were originally identified with the anal, 
and that the differentiation of the two a still obscure 
process takes place in part at an earlier stage than is 
generally supposed. He assumes the existence of a mouth- 
anus-vagina stage which forms the basis of the girl's 
heterosexual attitude and represents an identification with 
her mother. According to his view, too, the normal girl's 
phallic phase is only a weakened form of the identification 
made by homosexual females with the father and his penis, 
and is, like it, pre-eminently of a secondary and defensive 

Helene Deutsch is of a different opinion. 1 She assumes, 
it is true, the existence of a post-phallic phase which influ- 
ences the final outcome of the girl's later genital organiza- 
tion. But she believes that the girl does not have any such 
thing as a vaginal phase at all, and that it is the exception 
for her to know anything about the existence of her vagina 
or to have any sensations there, and that therefore when she 
has finished her infantile sexual development she cannot 
take up a feminine position in the genital sense. In con- 
sequence, her libido, even though maintaining a feminine 
position, is obliged to retrogress and cathect earlier posi- 
tions dominated by her castration complex (which in 
Helene Deutsch's view precedes her Oedipus complex); 
and a backward step of this kind would be a fundamental 
factor in the production of feminine masochism. 

Restitutive Tendencies and Sexuality 

We have already examined the part played by the girl's 
restitutive tendencies in consolidating her homosexual 
position. The consolidation of her heterosexual position, 
too, depends upon that position being in conformity with 
the requirements of her super-ego. 

As we saw in an earlier part of this chapter, even where 

1 Helene Deutsch, 'The Significance of Masochism in the Mental Life of 
Women* (1930). 


the normal individual is concerned, the sexual act, in ad- 
dition to its libidinal motivation, helps him to master 
anxiety. His genital activities have yet another motive force, 
which is his desire to make good by means of copulation 
the damage he has done through his sadistic phantasies. 1 
When, as a result of the stronger emergence of genital im- 
pulses, his ego reacts to his super-ego with less anxiety and 
more guilt, he finds in the sexual act a pre-eminent means 
of making reparation to the object, because of its connec- 
tion with his early sadistic phantasies. The nature and ex- 
tent of his restitutive phantasies, which must correspond 
to the imaginary damage he has done, will not only be an 
important factor in his various activities and in the forma- 
tion of his sublimations but will very greatly influence the 
course and outcome of his sexual development. 2 

Turning to the girl, we find that such considerations as 
the contents and composition of her sadistic phantasies, 
the magnitude of her reactive tendencies and the structure 
and strength of her ego will affect her libidinal fixations 
and help to decide whether the restitution she makes shall 
have a masculine or a feminine character or be a mixture 
of the two. 3 

Another thing which seems to me to be of importance 
for the final outcome of the girl's development is whether 
the restitutive phantasies which she builds up upon her 
specific sadistic ideas can impose themselves upon her ego 
as well as upon her sexual life. Ordinarily they work in both 
directions and reinforce one another, and thus help to 
establish a libido-position and an ego-position which are 

1 In her paper, 'Einige unbewusste Mechanismen im pathologischen Sexual- 
leben* (1932), Melitta Schmideberg has also come to the conclusion that restitu- 
tive tendencies are of great importance as an incentive to heterosexual and 
homosexual activities. 

* If his sense of guilt is excessive, the fusion of his sexual activities and his 
reactive tendencies may give rise to severe disturbances of his sexual life. We shall 
reserve for the next chapter a discussion of the effect which the desire to make 
restitution has upon the sexual development and potency of the male individual. 

* Even where her sadism remains dominant, the means she employs to master 
her anxiety will influence her sexual life and may either lead her to maintain a 
homosexual attitude or adopt a heterosexual one, both positions being based 
upon her sadistic tendencies. 


compatible with each other. If, for instance, the small girl's 
sadism has been strongly centred in phantasies of damag- 
ing her mother's body and stealing children and her father's 
penis from it, she may be able, when her reactive tenden- 
cies set in in force, to maintain her feminine position under 
certain conditions. In her sublimations she will give effect 
to her desire to restore her mother and give her back her 
father and children, by becoming a nurse or a masseuse or 
by pursuing intellectual interests ; I and if at the same time 
she has sufficient belief in the possibility of her own body 
being restored by having children or performing the sexual 
act with a 'beneficent* penis, she will also employ her 
heterosexual position as an aid to mastering anxiety. More- 
over, her heterosexual tendencies support her sublimatory 
ones which aim at the restoration of her mother's body, for 
they show her that copulation between her parents cannot 
have injured her mother, or at any rate that it can restore 
her; and this belief, in turn, helps to consolidate her in her 
heterosexual position. 

What the girl's final position is going to be will also de- 
pend, given the same underlying conditions, upon whether 
her belief in her own constructive omnipotence comes up 
to the strength of her reactive tendencies. If it does, her 
ego can set up a further aim to be fulfilled by her restitutive 
tendencies. This is that both her parents should be restored 
and should once more be united in amity. It is now her 
father who 3 in her phantasies, makes restitution to her 
mother and gratifies her by means of his health-giving 
penis ; whilst her mother's vagina, originally imagined as a 
dangerous thing, restores and heals her father's penis which 

1 In my * Infantile Anxiety-Situations Reflected in a. Work of Art and in 
the Creative Impulse* (1929) I have analysed an account by Karen Michaelis 
of a. young woman who suddenly developed a great talent for painting- portraits 
of women without ever having handled a brush before. I have tried to show that 
what caused this sudden burst of artistic productivity was anxiety emanating 
from her most profound danger-situations, and that painting female portraits 
symbolized a sublimated restoration both of her mother's body, which she had 
attacked in phantasy, and of her own, whose destruction she awaited out of dread 
of retaliation 5 so that in this way she was able to allay fears arising from the 
deepest levels of her mind. 


it has injured. In thus looking upon her mother's vagina 
as a beneficent and pleasure-giving organ, the girl is not 
only able to call up once more her earliest view of her 
mother as the 'good' mother who gave her suck, but can 
think of herself, in identification with her, as a beneficent 
and giving person and can regard the penis of her partner 
in love as a 'good' penis. Upon an attitude of this kind will 
rest the successful development of her sexual life and her 
ability to become attached to her object by ties of sex no 
less than of affection and love. 

As I have tried to show in these pages, the final outcome 
of the infantile sexual development of the individual is the 
result of a long-drawn-out process of fluctuation between 
various positions and is built up upon a great number of 
interconnected compromises between his ego and his 
super-ego and between his ego and his id. These compro- 
mises, being the result of his endeavours to master anxiety, 
are themselves to a great extent an achievement of his 
ego. Those of them which, in the girl, go to maintain her 
feminine role and which find typical expression in her later 
sexual life and general behaviour are, to mention only a 
few, that her father's penis shall gratify herself and her 
mother alternately; 1 that a certain number of the children 
shall be allocated to her mother, and the same number, or 
rather fewer, to herself; that she shall incorporate her 
father's penis, while her mother shall receive all the chil- 
dren, and so on. Masculine components enter into such 
compromises as well. The small girl will sometimes im- 
agine that she appropriates her father's penis in order to 
carry out a masculine role towards her mother, and then 
gives it back to him again. 

In the course of an analysis it becomes apparent that 
every change for the better which takes place in the libido- 

1 Phantasies with this content play a part in the homosexuality of women 
similar to that played in the homosexuality of men by phantasies of meeting 1 
their father's penis, as an object of gratification or of hatred, inside their mother's 
body. This may be because, where the girl's attitude is predominantly sadistic, 
they represent the destruction, undertaken in common by herself and her 
mother, of her father's penis j or, where it is predominantly positive, a libidinal 
gratification obtained in common with her from his penis. 


position of the patient springs from a diminution of his 
anxiety and sense of guilt and at once takes effect in the 
production of fresh compromises. The more the anxiety 
and guilt which the girl feels is decreased and the more 
her genital stage comes to the fore, the more easily is she 
able to let her mother adopt, or rather, resume, a feminine 
and maternal role and at the same time to take on a similar 
role herself and sublimate her male components. 

External Factors 

We know that the child's early phantasies and in- 
stinctual life on the one hand and the pressure of reality 
upon it on the other interact upon each other and that 
their combined action shapes the course of its mental de- 
velopment. In my judgment, reality and real objects affect 
its anxiety-situations from the very earliest stages of its 
existence, in the sense that it regards them as so many 
proofs or refutations of its anxiety-situations, which it has 
displaced into the outer world, and they thus help to guide 
the course of its instinctual life. And since, owing to the 
interaction of the mechanisms of projection and introjec- 
tion, the external factors influence the formation of its 
super-ego and the growth of its object-relationship and its 
instincts, they will also assist in determining what the out- 
come of its sexual development will be. 

If, for instance, the small girl looks in vain to her father 
for the love and kindness which shall confirm her belief in 
the *good* penis inside her and be a counter-weight to her 
belief in the bad' penis there, she will often grow more 
firmly entrenched in her masochistic attitude and the 'sad- 
istic father' may even become an actual condition of love 
for her; or his behaviour to her may increase her feelings 
of hatred and anxiety against his penis and impel her to 
abandon the feminine role or to become frigid. Actually> 
whether the outcome of her development is to be favour- 
able or unfavourable will depend upon the co-operation of 
a whole number of external factors. 


For instance, her father's attitude to her is not the only 
thing which helps to decide what type of person she will 
fall in love with. It is not only a question, say, of whether 
he favours or neglects her too much in comparison with 
her mother or her sisters, but of his direct relations with 
those persons. How far she will be able to maintain her 
feminine position and in that position evolve a wish for a 
kindly father-imago also depends very greatly upon her 
sense of guilt towards her mother and thus upon the nature 
of the relations between her mother and father. 1 Further- 
more, certain events, such as the illness or death of one of 
her parents or of a brother or sister, can assist in strength- 
ening in her either the one sexual position or the other, 
according to the way in which they affect her sense of 

Another thing which plays a very important part in the 
development of the child is the presence in its early life of 
a person, not its father or mother, whom it looks upon as 
a 'helping 1 figure and who gives it support in the external 
world against its phantastic fears. In dividing its mother 
into a 'good* mother and a 'bad* one and its father into a 
'good' father and a 'bad' one, it attaches the hatred it feels 
for its object to the 'bad* one or turns away from it, while 
it directs its restorative tendencies to its 'good' mother 
and 'good' father and, in imagination, makes good to- 
wards them the damage it has done its parent-imagos in 
its sadistic phantasies. 2 But if, because its anxiety is too 
great or for realistic reasons, its Oedipus objects have not 
become good imagos, other persons, such as a kindly nurse, 
brother or sister, a grandparent or an aunt or uncle, can, 
in certain circumstances, take over the role of the 'good* 

1 Since the way in which each child will receive the impressions of reality is 
already largely determined by his or her early anxiety-situations, the same events 
will have different effects on different children. But there can be no doubt that 
the existence of happy and harmonious relations between their parents and 
between themselves and their parents is of underlying importance for their 
successful sexual development and mental health. Of course, a happy family 
life of this kind presupposes in general that the parents are not neuroticj so that 
a constitutional factor enters into the situation as well, 

Cf. Chapter IX. 


mother or the 'good' father. 1 In this way its positive feel- 
ings, whose growth has been inhibited owing to its ex- 
cessive fear of its Oedipus objects, can come to the fore and 
attach themselves to a love-object. 

As has been pointed out more than once in these pages, 
the existence of sexual relations between children in early 
life, especially between brothers and sisters, is a very com- 
mon occurrence. The libidinal craving of small children, 
intensified as it is by their Oedipus frustrations, together 
with the anxiety emanating from their deepest danger- 
situations, impel them to indulge in mutual sexual activi- 
ties, since these, as I have more particularly tried to show 
in the present chapter, not only gratify their libido but 
enable them to obtain many refutations of their various 
fears in connection with the sexual act. I have re- 
peatedly found that if such sexual objects have acted in 
addition as 'helping' figures, early sexual relations of this 
kind exert a favourable influence upon the girl's relations 
to her objects and upon her later sexual development. 2 
Where an excessive fear of both parents, together with cer- 
tain external factors, would have produced an Oedipus 
situation which would have prejudiced her attitude towards 
the opposite sex and greatly hampered her in the main- 
tenance of her feminine position and in her ability to love, 
the fact that she has had sexual relations with a brother 
or brother-substitute in early childhood and that that 
brother has also shown real affection for her and been her 
protector, has provided the basis for a heterosexual position 
in her and developed her capacity for love. I have one or 
two cases in mind in which the girl had had two types of 
love-object, one representing the stern father and the other 
the kind brother. 3 In other cases, she had developed an 

1 A pet animal may also play the part of a 'helping* object in the imagination 
of children and thus assist in diminishing their anxiety. And so may a doll or a 
toy animal, to which they often assign the function of protecting them while 
they are asleep. 

* Cf. Chapter VII. 

* Each type had become important at different periods of her life. Analysis 
showed thai whenever her anxiety increased in amount and certain external 
factors became operative she was led to choose the more sadistic type of person 


imago which was a mixture of the two types ; and here, too, 
her relations to her brother had lessened her masochism. 

In serving as a proof grounded upon reality of the exist- 
ence of the 'good* penis, the girl's relations with her brother 
fortify her belief in the 'good* introjected penis and moder- 
ate her fear of 'bad* introjected objects. They also help her 
to master her anxiety in those respects, since in performing 
sexual acts with another child she gets a feeling of being 
in league with him against her parents. Their sexual- rela- 
tions have made the two children accomplices in crime, by 
reviving in them sadistic masturbation phantasies that 
were originally directed against their father and mother 
and causing them to indulge in them together. In thus 
sharing in that deepest guilt each child feels relieved of 
some of the weight of it and is also less frightened, because 
it believes that it has an ally against its dreaded objects. 
As far as I can see, the existence of a secret complicity of 
this sort, which, in my opinion, plays an essential part in 
every relationship of love, even between grown-up people, 
is of special importance in sexual attachments where the 
individual is of a paranoid type. 1 

The girl also regards her sexual attachment to the other 
child, who represents the 'good' object, as a disproof by 
means of reality of her fear of her own sexuality and that 
of her object as something destructive; so that an attach- 
ment of this sort may prevent her from becoming frigid 
or succumbing to other sexual disturbances in later life. 

Nevertheless, although, as we see, experiences of this 
kind can have a favourable effect upon the girl's sexual life 
and object-relationships, they can also lead to grave dis- 
orders in that field. 2 If her sexual relations with another 
child serve to confirm her deepest fears either because 
her partner is too sadistic or because performing the sexual 

or at least to be unable to resist his advances; while, as soon as she had succeeded 
in detaching herself from that sadistic object, the other, kindly type, representing 
her brother, emerged and she became less masochistic and was able to choose a 
satisfactory object. 

1 For a fuller discussion of this point see the following chapter. 

* Cf. Chapter VII. on this head. 



act arouses yet more anxiety and guilt in her on account 
of her own excessive sadism her belief in the harmful- 
ness of her introjected objects and her own id will become 
still stronger, her super-ego will grow more severe than 
ever, and, as a result, her neurosis and all the defects of her 
sexual and characterological development will gain ground. 1 

Development at Puberty 

The psychological upheavals which the child undergoes 
during the age of puberty are, as we know, to a large ex- 
tent due to the intensification of its impulses which accom- 
panies the physiological changes that are taking place in 
it. In the girl the onset of menstruation gives additional 
reinforcement to her anxiety. In her Zur Psychologie der 
weiblichen Sexualfunktionen (i 926) Helene Deutsch has dis- 
cussed at length the psychological significance of puberty 
for the girl and the trial it imposes on her, and she has 
come to the conclusion that the first flow of blood is equi- 
valent in the unconscious to having actually been castrated 
and having forfeited the possibility of having a child, and is, 
therefore, a double disappointment. Helene Deutsch points 
out that menstruation also signifies a punishment for hav- 
ing indulged in clitoral masturbation and, in addition, that 
it regressively revives the girl's infantile view of copula- 
tion according to which it is nearly always a sadistic act in- 
volving cruelty and the flow of blood. 2 

My own data fully bear out Helene Deutsch's view that 
the disappointments and shocks to her narcissism which 
the girl receives when she begins to menstruate are very 
great. But I think that their pathogenic effect is due to the 
circumstance that they reactivate past fears in her. They 
are only a few items in the inventory of her anxiety-situa- 
tions which menstruation brings to the surface once more. 
These fears, as we have seen earlier in the present chapter, 
are, briefly, the following : 

1 This is still more the case where the child has been seduced or raped by a 
grown-up person. Such an experience, as is well known, can have very serious 
effects upon the child's mind. * Cf. loc cit. S. 36. 


1 . In virtue of the equation of all bodily substances with 
one another in the unconscious, she identifies her men- 
strual blood with her supposedly dangerous excreta. 1 Since 
she has early learned to associate bleeding with being cut, 
her fear that these dangerous excreta have damaged her 
own body seems to her to have been borne out by reality. 

2 . The menstrual flow increases her terror that her body 
will be attacked. In this connection various fears are at 
work: (a) Her fear of being attacked and destroyed by her 
mother partly out of revenge, partly so as to get back her 
father *s penis and the children which she (the girl) has de- 
prived her of. (F) Her fear of being attacked and damaged 
by her father through his copulating with her in a sadistic 
way, 2 either because she has had sadistic masturbation 
phantasies about her mother or because he wants to get 
back the penis she has taken from him. Her phantasy that 
in thus forcibly recovering his penis from her he will injure 
her genitals underlies, I think, the idea she has later on 
that her clitoris is a wound or scar where her penis once 
was. (c) Her fear that the interior of her body will be 
attacked and destroyed by her introjected objects either 
directly or indirectly as a consequence of their fight with 
one another inside her. Her phantasy that she has intro- 
jected her violent parents in the act of performing sadistic 
coitus and that they are endangering her own inside in de- 
stroying each other there calls out fears of a very acute kind 
in her. She regards the bodily sensations which menstrua- 
tion often gives rise to in her, and which her anxiety aug- 
ments, as a sign that all the injuries she has dreaded to 
receive and all her hypochondriacal fears have come true. 

1 Cf. Lewin, 'Kotschmieren, Menses und weibliches Uber-Ich* (1930). 

1 In her paper, 'Psychoanalytisches zur Menstruation* (1931)? Melitta 
Schmideberg has pointed out that the girl regards menstruation, among other 
things, as the result of having been copulated with sadistically by her father and 
that she is all the more terrified since she believes that this action on his part was 
done in retaliation for her aggression towards both him and her mother. Just 
as in her sadistic phantasies as a child he was the executive of her aggressive 
desire against her mother, so now he is the one to carry out the punishment 
her mother metes out to her. In addition, his sadistic coitus with her represents 
his own punishment of her for the castration-wishes she harbours against the 
male sex in connecton with copulation. 


3. The flow of blood from the interior of her body con- 
vinces her that the children inside her have been injured 
and destroyed. In some analyses of women I have found 
that their fear of being childless (i.e. of having had the 
children inside them destroyed) had been intensified since 
the onset of menstruation and had not been removed until 
they actually did have a child. But in many cases men- 
struation, in adding to their fear of having damaged or 
abnormal children, causes them, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, to reject pregnancy altogether. 

4. Menstruation, by confirming the girl in the know- 
ledge that she has no penis and in the belief that her clitoris 
is the scar or wound left by her castrated penis, 1 makes it 
harder for her to maintain a masculine position. 

5. In being a sign of sexual maturity, menstruation 
activates all those sources of anxiety, mentioned earlier on 
in this chapter, which are connected with her ideas that 
sexual behaviour has a sadistic character. 

Analyses of female patients at the age of puberty show 
that for the reasons given above the girl feels that her 
feminine position as well as her masculine one have be- 
come untenable. Menstruation has a much greater effect in 
activating sources of anxiety and conflicts in the girl than do 
the parallel developmental processes in the boy. This is partly 
why she is sexually more inhibited than he is at puberty. 

The psychological effects of menstruation are in part 
responsible for the fact that at this age the girl's neu- 
rotic difficulties often increase very greatly. Even if she is 
normal menstruation resuscitates her old anxiety-situa- 
tions, though, since her ego and her methods of master- 
ing anxiety have been adequately developed, she is better 
able to modify her anxiety than she was in early childhood. 
Ordinarily, too, she obtains a strong satisfaction from the 
onset of menstruation. Provided that her feminine position 
has been well established during the first expansion of her 

1 In my opinion, the girl's primary phantasy, mentioned under 2 (b), \ 
effect that her genitals (clitoris) have been damaged through her having h 

, to the 
o had her 

introjected penis forcibly taken from her, or herlear that this will happen, forms 
the basis of her phantasy that her genitals have been damaged by castration. 


sexual life, she will regard menstruation as a proof of being 
sexually mature and a woman, and as a sign that she may 
put still greater confidence in her expectation of receiving 
sexual gratification and having children. If this is so, she 
will look upon menstruation as evidence against various 
sources of anxiety. 

Relations to her Children 

In describing the early sexual development of the female 
individual I did not go very fully into her desire to have 
children, since I wanted to deal with her infantile attitude 
to her imaginary children at the same time as I dealt with 
her attitude in later life, during pregnancy, to the real 
child inside her. 

Freud has stated that the girl's desire to have a child 
takes the place of her wish to possess a penis; I but accord- 
ing to my observations, what it takes the place of is her 
desire for her father's penis in an object-libidinal sense. In 
some cases the principal equation she makes is between 
children and faeces. Here her relation to the child seems to 
develop mainly on narcissistic lines. It is more independent 
of her attitude to the man and closely connected with her 
own body and with the omnipotence of her excrements. In 
other cases she mostly equates children with a penis; and 
here her attitude to her child rests more strongly upon her 
relations to her father or to his penis. There is a universal 
infantile sexual theory to the effect that the mother incor- 
porates a new penis every time she copulates and that these 
penises, or a part of them, turn into children. In conse- 
quence of this theory the girl's relations to her father's 
penis influence her relations first of all to her imaginary 
children and later on to her real ones. 

In the book which I have already quoted, Zur Psycho- 
analyse der weiblichen Sexualfunktionen^ Helene Deutsch, 
in discussing the attitude of the pregnant woman to the 

1 Cf. Freud, *Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Dis- 
tinction between the Sexes' (1927). 


child inside her puts forward the following view. The 
woman looks upon her child both as a part of her ego and 
as an object outside it 'in regard to which she repeats all 
the positive and negative object-relationships which she 
has had towards her own mother*. In her phantasies her 
father has been turned into her child in the act of copula- 
tion, 'which, ultimately, represents to her unconscious the 
oral incorporation of her father', and he 'retains this role 
in the real or imaginary pregnancy which ensues*. After 
this process of introjection has taken place her child be- 
comes 'the incarnation of the ego-ideal which she has 
already developed earlier' and also represents 'the em- 
bodiment of her own ideals which she has not been able 
to attain*. The ambivalent attitude she has towards her 
child is partly due to this fact that it stands for her super- 
ego often in strong opposition to her ego and revives 
in her those ambivalent feelings towards her father which 
arose out of her Oedipus situation. But it is also partly due 
to her making a regressive cathexis of her earlier libidinal 
positions. Her identification of children with faeces, of 
which she has a narcissistic valuation, becomes the basis of a 
similar narcissistic valuation of her child; and her reaction- 
formations against her original over-estimation of her ex- 
crements awakens feelings of disgust in her and makes her 
want to expel her child. 

This view requires, I think, to be amplified in one or 
two directions. The equation which the female has made 
in the early stages of her development between her father's 
penis and a child leads her to give to the child inside her 
the significance of a paternal super-ego, since his internal- 
ized penis forms the nucleus of that super-ego. Thus her 
attitude to her imaginary or real child is not only an ambi- 
valent one but is charged with a certain quantity of anxiety 
which exerts a decisive influence upon her relations to her 
child. The equation she has made between faeces and chil- 
dren has also, I have found, affected her relation to her im- 
aginary child when she is still quite small. And the anxiety 
which she feels on account of her phantasies about her 


poisonous and burning excreta, and which, in my opinion, 
reinforces her expelling tendencies belonging to the earlier 
anal stage, is one of the reasons why she has feelings of 
hatred and fear later on towards the real child inside her. 

As I have already pointed out, the girl's fear of her 
4 bad* introjected penis induces her to strengthen her in- 
trojection of a *good* penis, since it offers her protection 
and assistance against the 'bad 7 penis inside her, her bad 
imagos and her excreta which she regards as dangerous 
substances. It is this friendly, 'good* penis, often conceived 
of as a small one, which takes on the significance of a child. 
This imaginary child, which affords the small girl protec- 
tion and help, primarily represents in her unconscious the 
*good' contents of her body. The support it gives her 
against her anxiety is, of course, purely phantastic, but then 
the objects she is afraid of are equally phantastic; for in this 
stage of her development she is mostly governed by in- 
ternal and subjective reality. 1 

In my view it is because the possession of children is a 
means of overcoming her anxiety and allaying her sense of 
guilt that the little girl normally feels such an intense 
need to have children a need which is greater than any 
other desire. As we know, grown-up women often have a 
stronger desire to have a child than to have a sexual partner. 

The small girl's attitude towards the child is also of 
great importance for the creation of her sublimations. The 
imaginary attacks she makes upon her mother's inside by 
means of her poisonous and destructive excreta bring on 
misgivings about the contents of her own body. Owing to 
her equation of faeces with children her phantasies about 
the 'bad* faeces inside her lead her to have phantasies about 
having a 'bad* child 2 in there, and that is equivalent to 
having a 'horrible', malformed one. The girPs reaction- 

1 Recognition of internal reality is the foundation of adaptation to external 
reality. The child's attitude to its imaginary objects, which, in this stage of its 
life, are phantastic imagos of its external, real objects, will determine its relations 
to those objects later on. 

1 The equation of a 'bad* penis with a child has already been discussed. The 
two equations exist side by side and reinforce each other. 


formations to her sadistic phantasies about dangerous faeces 
give rise, it seems to me, to sublimations of a specifically 
feminine type. In analysing small girls we can see very 
clearly how closely their longing to possess a 'beautiful' 
(i.e. 'good' and healthy) child and their indefatigable efforts 
to beautify their imaginary baby and their own body are 
connected with their fear of having produced in them- 
selves and put inside their mother 'bad' and horrid children 
whom they liken to poisonous excrement. 

Ferenczi has described the changes which the child's 
interest in faeces undergoes in the various stages of its de- 
velopment, and has come to the conclusion that its copro- 
philic tendencies are early sublimated in part into a 
pleasure in shining things. 1 One element in this process 
of sublimation is, I think, the child's fear of 'bad' and 
dangerous pieces of stool. From this there is a direct sub- 
limatory path leading to the theme of 'beauty'. The very 
strong need which women feel to have a beautiful body 
and a lovely home and for beauty in general is based on 
their desire to possess a beautiful interior to their body in 
which 'good' and lovely objects and innocuous excrements 
are lodged. Another line of sublimation from the girl's fear 
of 'bad' and 'dangerous' excrements leads to the idea of 
'good' products in the sense of health-giving ones (though, 
incidentally, 'good' and 'beautiful' often mean the same 
thing to the small child), and in this way goes to strengthen 
in her those original maternal feelings and desires to give 
which spring from her feminine position. 

If the small girl is sufficiently buoyed up by feelings of 
an optimistic kind she will believe not only that her in- 
ternalized penis is a 'good' one but that the children inside 
her are helpful beings. But if she is filled with fear of a 
'bad* internalized penis and of dangerous excrements, her 
relation to her real child in later life will often be dominated 
by anxiety. Not seldom, however, where her relations to 
her sexual partner do not satisfy her, she will establish a 
relation to her child which will afford her gratification and 

1 Ferenczi, *The Origin of Interest in Money* (1914). 


moral support. In these cases, in which the sexual act itself 
has received too strongly the significance of an anxiety- 
situation and her sexual object has become an anxiety- 
object to her, it is her child which attracts to itself the 
quality of a 'good' and helpful penis. Again, a woman who 
overcomes anxiety precisely by means of her sexual activi- 
ties may have a fairly good relation to her husband and a 
bad one to her child. In this case she has displaced her 
anxiety concerning the enemy inside her for the most part 
on to her child; and it is her fears resulting from this 
which, I have found, are at the bottom of her fear of preg- 
nancy and child-birth and which add to her physical suffer- 
ings while she is pregnant and may even render her 
psychologically incapable of conceiving a child. 

We have already seen in what way the woman's fear of 
the 'bad' penis can increase her sadism. Women who have 
a strong sadistic attitude to their husband usually look 
upon their child as an enemy. Just as they regard the sexual 
act as a means of destroying their object, so do they want 
to have a child mainly in order to get it into their power 
as though it was something hostile to them. They can then 
employ the hatred which they feel for their internal, dreaded 
foe against external objects against husband and child. 
There are also, of course, women who have a sadistic atti- 
tude to their husband and a relatively friendly one to their 
children, and vice versa. But in every case it is the woman's 
attitude to her introjected objects, especially her father's 
penis, which will determine her attitude to her husband 
and child. 

The attitude of the mother to her children is based, as 
we know, upon her early relations to her objects. Accord- 
ing as her child is a boy or a girl she will have towards it, 
to a greater or lesser degree, those emotional relationships 
which she had in early childhood towards her father and 
uncles and brothers, or towards her mother and aunts and 
sisters. If she has principally equated the idea of a child 
with that of a 'good' penis, it will be the positive ele- 
ments of those relationships which she will carryover to her 


child. 1 She will condense a number of friendly imagos in its 
person, 2 and it will represent the 'innocence* of infancy and 
will be in her eyes what she would like to picture herself 
as having been in early childhood. And one of the ultimate 
motives for the hopes she places upon its growing up well 
and happily is that she may be able, in retrospect, to turn 
her own unsatisfactory childhood into a time of happiness. 

There are, I think, a whole number of factors which 
help to fortify the emotional relationship which the mother 
has towards her child. In bringing it into the world she has 
produced the strongest refutation in reality of all the fears 
that arise from her sadistic phantasies. The birth of her 
child not only signifies in her unconscious that the interior 
of her own body and the imaginary children there are un- 
harmed or have been made well again but invalidates all 
sorts of fears associated with the idea of children. It shows 
that the children inside her mother her brothers and 
sisters and her father's penis (or her father) which she 
has attacked there, and also her mother, are all unharmed 
or made whole again. Having a baby thus represents re- 
storing a number of objects even, in some cases, re-creat- 
ing a whole world. 

Giving suck to her child is very important too, and forms 
a very close and special tie between her and it. In giving 
her child a product of her own body which is essential to 
its nourishment and growth she is enabled finally to dis- 
prove and put a happy end to that vicious circle which was 
started in her as an infant by her attacks upon her mother's 
breast as the first object of her destructive impulses and 

1 The girl often identifies her imaginary child in her unconscious with a small 
and innocuous penis. It is partly in this connection that her relations with her 
brother or some other child help her to confirm her belief in the 'good* penis. 
As a small child she ascribes an enormous amount of sadism to her father's penis 
and finds her brother's small penis, if less worthy of admiration, at any rate not 
so dangerous. 

1 In his Civilization and its Discontents (1930) Freud says on p. 89: *It* 
(aggression) 4 is at the bottom of all the relations of affection and love between 
human beings possibly with the single exception of that of a mother to her 
male child*. Where the woman is strongly affected by the equation between the 
child and the 'good 1 penis, she is especially liable to concentrate all the positive 
elements of her feeling upon her child, should it be a boy. 


which contained phantasies of destroying the breast by 
biting it to pieces and dirtying, poisoning, and burning it 
by means of her excreta. For in her unconscious she re- 
gards the fact that she is giving her child nourishing and 
beneficial milk as a proof that her own early sadistic phan- 
tasies have not come true or that she has succeeded in 
restoring the objects of them. 1 

As has already been pointed out, the individual loves 
his 'good' object the more because, by being something to 
which he can devote his restitutive tendencies, it affords 
him gratification and lessens his anxiety. No object pos- 
sesses this qualification to such an eminent degree as does 
the helpless little child. Furthermore, in expending her 
maternal love and care upon her child she not only fulfils 
her earliest desires but, since she identifies herself with it, 
shares the pleasures she gives it. In thus reversing the re- 
lationship of mother and child she is able to experience a 
happy renewal of her earliest attachment to her own mother 
and to let her primal feelings of hatred for her recede into 
the background and her positive feelings come to the fore. 

All these factors contribute to give children a tremen- 
dous importance in the emotional life of women. And we 
can readily see why it is that their mental balance should 
be so much upset if their child does not turn out well and, 
especially, if it is abnormal. Just as a healthy and thriving 
child is a refutation of a whole number of fears, so is an 
abnormal, sickly, or merely rather unsatisfactory one a 
confirmation of them, and may even come to be regarded 
as an enemy and a persecutor. 


We shall now only consider briefly the relation between 
the formation of the girl's super-ego and the development 

1 She also takes this as a proof in reality that her urine, which she likens to 
milk, is not harmful; just as, on the other hand, she often looks upon her menstrual 
blood as a proof in reality that her urine and other excreta are dangerous sub- 
stances. Moreover, the fact that her supply of milk does not give out is a refutation 
not only of her fear, arising from her sadistic phantasies, that her breast has been 


of her ego. Freud has shown that some of the differences 
that exist between the super-ego formation of the girl and 
that of the boy are associated with anatomical sexual differ- 
ences. 1 These anatomical differences affect, I think, both 
the development of the super-ego and the ego in various 
ways. In consequence of the structure of the female geni- 
tals, which marks their receptive function, the girl's Oedi- 
pus tendencies are more largely dominated by her oral 
impulses, and the introjection of her super-ego is more 
extensive than in the boy. In addition there is the absence 
of a penis as an active organ. The fact that she has no penis 
increases the greater dependence the girl already has upon 
her super-ego as a result of her stronger introjective tend- 

I have already put forward the view in earlier pages of 
this book that the boy's primary sense of omnipotence is 
associated with his penis, which is also the representative in 
his unconscious of activities and sublimations proceeding 
from his masculine components. In the girl, who does not 
possess a penis, the sense of omnipotence is more pro- 
foundly and extensively associated with her father's intro- 
jected penis than it is in the case of the boy. This is the 
more so because the picture which she has formed as a 
child of his penis inside her and which determines the 
standards she sets up for herself has been evolved out of 
extremely highly coloured phantasies and is thus more 
exaggerated than the boy's both in the direction of 'good- 
ness' and of 'badness'. 

This view that the super-ego is more strongly operative 
in women than in men seems at first sight to be out of keep- 
ing with the fact that, compared to men, women are often 
more dependent upon their objects, more easily influenced 
by the outer world and more variable in their moral 
standards that is, apparently less guided by the require- 

destroyed, but convinces her that her excrements are not harmful to her own 
body. These were the weapons she used to attack her mother's breast in her 
imagination, and she now sees that they have done no harm. 

1 4 Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between 
the Sexes (1927). 


ments of a super-ego. But I think that their greater de- 
pendence upon objects 1 is actually closely related to a 
greater efficacy of the super-ego. Both characteristics 
have a common origin in the greater propensity women 
have to introject their object and set it up in themselves, so 
that they erect a more powerful super-ego there. This pro- 
pensity, moreover, is increased precisely by their greater 
dependence upon their super-ego and their greater fear of 
it. The girl's most profound anxiety, which is that some 
unascertainable damage has been done to her inside by her 
internalized objects, impels her, as we have already seen, 
to be continually testing her fears by means of her relations 
to real objects. It impels her, that is, to reinforce her intro- 
jective tendencies in a secondary way. Again, it would 
seem that her mechanisms of projection are stronger than 
the man's, in conformity with her stronger sense of the 
omnipotence of her excrements and thoughts ; and this is 
another factor which induces her to have stronger relations 
with the outer world and with objects in reality, partly for 
the purpose of controlling them by magical means. 

This fact that the processes of introjection and projec- 

1 Along with this greater dependence upon objects goes the greater degree to 
which they are affected by loss of love. In his paper, 'One of the Motive Factors 
in the Formation of the Super-Ego in Women' (1928), Hanns Sachs has pointed 
out the curious fact that although women are in general more narcissistic than 
men, they feel the loss of love more. He has sought to explain this apparent 
contradiction by supposing that when her Oedipus conflict comes to an end 
the girl tries to cling to her father either through her desire to have a child by 
him or 'by means of oral regression. His view agrees with mine in stressing the 
significance that her oral attachment to her father has for the formation of her 
super-ego. But according to him this attachment comes about through a re- 
gression after she has been disappointed in her hopes of having a penis and of 
obtaining genital satisfaction from her fatherj whereas in my view her oral 
attachment to her father, or, more correctly, her desire to incorporate his penis, 
is the foundation and starting-point of her sexual development and of the 
formation of her super-ego. 

Ernest Jones attributes the greater effect which the loss of her object has upon 
the woman to her fear that her father will not give her sexual gratification (cf. 
his paper, 'The Early Development of Female Sexuality*, 1927). According 
to him, the reason why the frustration of sexual gratification is so intolerable to 
her and in this matter, of course, the woman is more dependent than the man 
on the other party is because it stirs up her deepest anxiety, which is her fear 
of aphanisis, > of having her capacity for experiencing sexual pleasure entirely 


tton are stronger in the woman than in the man not only 
affects, I think, the character of her object-relationships 
but is of importance for the development of her ego. Her 
dominating and deep-seated need to give herself up in com- 
plete trust and submission to the 'good* internalized penis 
is one of the things that underlies the receptive quality of 
her sublimations and interests. But her feminine position 
also strongly impels her to obtain secret control of her 
internalized objects by means of the omnipotence of her 
excrements and of her thoughts; and this fosters in her 
a sharp power of observation and great psychological 
insight, together with a certain artfulness and inclination 
towards deceit and intrigue. This side of her ego-develop- 
ment is brought out in the main with reference to her 
maternal super-ego, but it also colours her relation to her 
paternal one. 

In The Ego and the Id (1923) Freud writes on p. 38: 
* If they 7 (the object-identifications) 'obtain the upper hand 
and become too numerous, unduly intense and incompat- 
ible with one another, a pathological outcome will not be 
far off. It may come to a disruption of the ego in conse- 
quence of the individual identifications becoming cut off 
from one another by resistances; perhaps the secret of 
cases of so-called multiple personality is that the various 
identifications seize possession of consciousness in turn. 
Even when things do not go so far as this, there remains 
the question of conflicts between the different identifica- 
tions into which the ego is split up, conflicts which cannot 
after all be described as purely pathological.' A study of 
the early stages of the formation of the super-ego and their 
relation to the development of the ego fully confirms this 
last statement. And, as far as can be seen, any further in- 
vestigation of personality as a whole, whether normal or 
abnormal, will have to proceed along the lines Freud has 
indicated. It seems that the way to extend our knowledge 
of the ego is to learn more about the various identifications 
it makes and the relations it has to them. Only by pursuing 
this line of enquiry can we discover in what ways the ego 


regulates the relations that exist between those identifica- 
tions, which, as we know, differ according to the stage of 
development in which they have been made and according 
to whether they refer to the subject's mother or father or a 
combination of the two. 

The girl is more hampered in the formation of a super- 
ego in respect of her mother than the boy is in respect of 
his father, since it is difficult for her to identify herself with 
her mother on the basis of an anatomical resemblance, 
owing to the fact that the internal organs which subserve 
female sexual functions and the question of possessing or 
not possessing children do not admit of any investigation 
or test by reality. This obstacle increases, as we have al- 
ready learnt, the power of her terrifying mother-imago 
that product of her own imaginary sadistic attacks upon 
her mother who endangers the inside of her body and 
calls her to account for having deprived her of her children, 
her faeces and the father's penis, and for possessing 'bad' 
and dangerous excrements. 

The methods of attack, based on the omnipotence of her 
excrements and of thoughts, which the girl employs against 
her mother influence the development of her ego not only 
directly, as it seems, but indirectly too. Her reaction-forma- 
tions against her own sadistic omnipotence and the trans- 
formation of the latter into constructive omnipotence 
enable her to develop sublimations and qualities of mind 
which are the direct opposite of those traits which we have 
just described and which are allied to the primary omni- 
potence of her excrements. They incline her to be truthful, 
confiding, and forgetful of self, ready to devote herself to 
the duties before her and willing to undergo much for their 
sake and for the sake of other people* These reaction- 
formations and sublimations tend once more to make her 
sense of omnipotence, based upon her internalized 'good' 
objects, and her attitude of submission to her paternal 
super-ego the dominating forces in her feminine attitude. 1 

1 As has already been seen, the different kinds of magic act in conjunction 
and are interchangeable. They are also played off against one another by the 


Moreover, an essential part in her ego-development is 
played by her desire to employ her 'good' urine and 'good' 
faeces in rectifying the effects of her 'bad' and harmful 
excrements and in giving away good and beautiful things 
a desire which is of overwhelming importance in her acts 
of bearing a child and giving suck to it, for the 'beautiful' 
child and the 'good' milk which she produces represent 
sublimations of her harmful faeces and dangerous urine. 
Indeed this desire forms a fruitful and creative basis for 
all those sublimations which arise out of the psychological 
representatives of parturition and giving suck. 

The characteristic thing about the development of the 
woman's ego is that in the course of it her super-ego be- 
comes raised to very great heights and much magnified 
and that her ego looks up to it and submits itself to it. And 
because her ego tries to live up to this exalted super-ego it 
is spurred on to all kinds of efforts which result in an ex- 
pansion and enrichment of itself. Thus whereas in the man 
it is the ego and, with it, reality-relations which mostly 
take the lead, so that his whole nature is more objective and 
reasonable, in the woman it is the unconscious which is the 
dominating force. In her case, no less than in his, the 
quality of her achievements will depend upon the quality 
of her ego, but they receive their specifically feminine char- 
acter of intuitiveness and subjectivity from the fact that her 
ego is submitted to a loved internal being. They represent 
the birth of a spiritual child, procreated by its father ; and 
this spiritual father is her super-ego. It is true that even a 
markedly feminine line of development exhibits numerous 
features which spring from masculine components, but it 
seems as if it was the woman's dominating belief in the 
omnipotence of her father's incorporated penis and of the 
growing child inside her which renders her capable of 
achievements of a specifically feminine kind. 

ego. The girl's fear of having *bad' children (faeces) inside her as a result of the 
magical powers of her excrements acts as an incentive to her to over-emphasize 
her belief in the 'good' penis. Her equation of the 'good* penis with a child 
makes it possible for her to hope that she has incorporated *good* children and 
these are an offset to the children inside her which she likens to 'bad' faeces. 


At this point we cannot help comparing the mental dis- 
position of women with that of children, who, as I main- 
tain, are to such a much greater degree under the dominion 
of their super-ego and dependent upon their objects than 
is the adult. We all know that the woman is much more 
akin to the child than is the man ; and yet in some re- 
spects she differs quite as much from it as he in her ego- 
development. The reason for this is, I think, that although 
she has introjected her Oedipus object much more strongly 
than he has, so that her super-ego and id occupy a larger 
share in her mental make-up and there is a certain analogy 
between her attitude and the child's, her ego attains a full 
development in virtue of the powerful super-ego within her 
whose example it follows and which it also in part endea- 
vours to control and outdo. 

If the girl clings in the main to the imaginary possession 
of a penis as a masculine attribute, her development will be 
radically different. In reviewing her sexual history we have 
already discussed the various \ causes which oblige her to 
adopt a masculine position. As regards her activities and 
sublimations which she regards in her unconscious as a 
confirmation in reality of her possession of a penis or as 
substitutes for it these are not only used to compete with 
her father's penis but invariably serve,, in a secondary way, 
as a defence against her super-ego and in order to weaken 
it. In girls of this type, moreover, the ego takes a stronger 
lead and their pursuits are for the most part an expression 
of male potency. 

As far as the girl's sexual development is concerned, we 
have already learnt the significance which the existence of 
a good mother-imago has upon the formation of a good 
father-imago in her. If she is in a position to entrust herself 
to the internal guidance of a paternal super-ego which she 
believes in and admires it always means that she has good 
mother-imagos as well ; for it is only where she has suffi- 
cient trust in a 'good' internalized mother that she is able 
to surrender herself completely to her paternal super-ego. 
But in order to make a surrender of this kind she must also 


believe strongly enough in her possession of 'good 5 things 
inside her body of friendly internalized objects. Only if 
the child which, in her imagination, she has had, or expects 
to have, by her father is a 'good' and 'beautiful' child 
only, that is, if the inside of her body represents a place 
where harmony and beauty reign J can she give herself 
without reserve, both sexually and mentally, to her paternal 
super-ego and to its representatives in the external world. 
The attainment of a state of harmony of this kind is founded 
on the existence of a good relationship between her ego 
and its identifications and between those identifications 
themselves, and especially between her father-imago and 
her mother-imago. 

The girl-child's phantasies in which she tries to destroy 
both her parents out of envy and hatred of them are the 
fountain-head of her deepest sense of guilt and also form 
the basis of her most overpowering danger-situations. They 
give rise to a fear of harbouring in herself hostile objects 
which are engaged in deadly combat (i.e. in destructive 
copulation) with each other or which, because they have 
discovered her guilt, are allied in enmity against her ego. 
If her father and mother live a happy life together the im- 
mense gratification she obtains from this fact is to a great 
extent due to the relief which their good relations with each 
other afford the sense of guilt she feels on account of her 
sadistic phantasies. For in her unconscious the good under- 
standing between them is a confirmation in reality of her 
hope of being able to make restitution in every possible 
way. And if her restitutive mechanisms have been success- 
fully established she will not only be in harmony with the 
external world, but and this is, I think, a necessary con- 
dition for the attainment of such a state of harmony and of 
a satisfactory object-relationship and sexual development 
she will be at one with her internal world and with her- 
self. If her menacing imagos fade into the background and 
her kindly father-imago and mother-imago emerge to act 
in friendly co-operation and give her a guarantee of peace 

1 This phantasy is also present in the boy (cf. Chapter XII.). 


and security within her own body, she can work out her 
feminine and her masculine components under the auspices 
of her introjected parents, and she will have secured a basis 
in herself for the full development of a harmonious per- 


Since writing the above I note that a paper by Freud has 
appeared, 1 in which he more especially discusses the long 
period of time during which the girl remains attached to 
her mother, and endeavours to isolate that attachment from 
the operation of her super-ego and her sense of guilt. This, 
in my judgment, is not possible, for I think that the girl's 
anxiety and sense of guilt which arise from her aggressive 
impulses go to intensify her primary libidinal attachment 
to her mother at a very early age. Her multifarious fears of 
her phantastic imagos (her super-ego) and of her 'bad', real 
mother force her, while she is still quite small, to find pro- 
tection in her 'good*, real mother. And in order to do this 
she has to over-compensate for her primary aggression 
towards the latter. 

Freud also points out that the girl feels hostility, too, 
towards her mother and is afraid of 'being killed (eaten 
up?) by her'. In my analysis of female patients of every age 
I have found that their fear of being devoured, cut to bits 
or destroyed by their mother springs from the projection 
of impulses of their own of the same sadistic kind against 
her, and that those fears are at the bottom of their earliest 
anxiety-situations. Freud also states that female persons 
who are strongly attached to their mother have more especi- 
ally reacted with rage and anxiety to enemas and anal 
irrigations which she has administered to them in their 
childhood. Expressions of affect of this sort are, as far as 
my experience goes, caused by their fear of sustaining anal 
attacks from her a fear which represents the projection of 
their anal-sadistic phantasies on to her. I am in agreement 

1 'Female Sexuality* (1932). 


with Freud's view that in females the projection in early 
childhood of hostile impulses against their mother is the 
nucleus of paranoia in later life. But, according to my 
observations, 1 it is the imaginary attacks they have made 
upon the interior of their mother's body by means of de- 
structive excrements that poison, burn and explode, which 
more particularly give rise to their fear of pieces of stool 
as persecutors and of their mother as a terrifying figure as 
a result of projection. 

Freud believes that the girl's long attachment to her 
mother is an exclusive one and takes place before she has 
entered the Oedipus situation. But my experience of ana- 
lysis of small girls has convinced me that their long-drawn- 
out and powerful attachment to their mother is never ex- 
clusive and is bound up with Oedipus impulses. Moreover, 
their anxiety and sense of guilt in relation to their mother 
also affects the course of those Oedipus impulses; for in 
my view, the girl's defence against her feminine attitude 
springs less from her masculine tendencies than from her 
fear of her mother. If the small girl is too frightened of her 
mother she will not be able to attach herself strongly 
enough to her father and her Oedipus complex will not 
come to light. In those cases, however, in which a strong at- 
tachment to the father has not been established until the 
post-phallic stage, I have found that the girl has neverthe- 
less had positive Oedipus impulses at an early age, but that 
these often did not emerge to view. These early stages of 
her Oedipus conflict still bear a somewhat phantastic char- 
acter, since they are in part centred round the penis of her 
father; but in part they are already concerned with her real 

In some of my earlier papers I have adduced as primary 
factors in the withdrawal of the girl from her mother the 
grudge she feels against her for having subjected her to 
oral frustration (a factor which is also noticed by Freud in 
the paper under discussion) and her envy of the mutual 

1 Cf. my papers, *Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict 1 (1928) and "The 
Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Development of the Ego 1 (1930). 


oral gratification which, on the strength of her earliest 
sexual theories, she imagines that her parents obtain from 
copulation. These factors, assisted by the equation of 
breast with penis, incline her to turn towards her father's 
penis in the second half of her first year ; so that her attach- 
ment to her father is fundamentally affected by her attach- 
ment to her mother. Freud, I may say, also points out that 
the one is built up upon the other, and that many women 
repeat their relation to their mother in their relation to 



EARLY analysis shows that in its first stages the boy's 
sexual development runs parallel with that of the 
girl. 1 As in her case, the oral frustration he experi- 
ences reinforces his destructive tendencies against his 
mother's breast; and as in her case, his withdrawal from 
the breast, and the onset of his oral-sadistic impulses are 
followed by what I have called the period of maximal 
sadism, in which his aim is to attack the inside of his 
mother's body. 

The Feminine Phase 

In this phase the boy has an oral-sucking fixation on his 
father's penis, just as the girl has. This fixation is, I con- 
sider, the basis of true homosexuality in him. This view 
would agree with what Freud has said in Eine Ktndheits- 
erinnerung des Leonardo da Find (1910), where he comes 
to the conclusion that Leonardo's homosexuality goes 
back to an excessive fixation upon his mother ultimately 
upon her breast and thinks that this fixation became dis- 
placed on to the penis as an object of gratification. In my 
experience every boy moves on from an oral-sucking fixa- 
tion upon his mother's breast to an oral-sucking fixation 
upon his father's penis. 

1 In so far as this is so those stages will be only very briefly alluded to here. 
For a more detailed discussion of them the reader is referred to Chapters VIII. 
and IX. of this book. 



In addition to this, the boy imagines that his mother in- 
corporates his father's penis, or rather, a number of them, 
inside herself; so that side by side with his relations to his 
father and his father's penis in reality he develops an im- 
aginary relation to his father's penis inside his mother. 
Since his oral desires for his father's penis are one of the 
motives of his attacks on his mother's body for he wants 
to take by force the penis which he imagines as being in- 
side his mother and to injure her in so doing his attacks 
in part also represent his earliest situations of rivalry 
with her, and thus form the basis of his femininity com- 
plex. 1 

The forcible seizure of his father's penis and of the ex- 
crements and children out of his mother's body makes 
him into his mother's rival and gives rise to an intense fear 
of retaliation. His having destroyed the interior of his 
mother's body in addition to robbing it becomes, further- 
more, a source of deepest anxiety to him. And the more 
sadistic his imaginary destruction of her body has been the 
greater will be his dread of her as a rival. 

Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict 

The boy's genital impulses, which, though at first over- 
laid by his pre-genital ones and made to serve their ends, 
do nevertheless substantially affect the course of his sad- 
istic phase, lead him to take his mother's body and genitals 
as asexual object. He thus desires to have sole possession 
of her in an oral, anal and genital sense and attacks his 
father's penis within her with all the sadistic means at his 
disposal. His oral position, too, gives rise to a great amount 
of hatred against his father's penis in consequence of the 
frustration he has experienced from that quarter. Ordin- 
arily his destructive impulses towards his father's penis are 

1 For a detailed account of the phenomena that make their appearance in 
connection with the feminine phase of the male individual, I may refer the 
reader to my paper 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928). Cf. also Karen 
Homey, 'The Flight from Womanhood* (1926), and Felix Boehm, 'The 
Femininity-Complex in Men* (1929). 


very much stronger than the girl's, since his longing for 
his mother as a sexual object induces him to concentrate 
his hatred more intensely upon it. Moreover, it has already 
been a special object of anxiety to him in the earliest stages 
of his development, for his direct aggressive impulses to- 
wards it have aroused a proportionate fear of it in him. 
This fear once again reinforces his hatred of it and his 
desire to destroy it. 

As we have seen in the last chapter, the girl retains her 
mother's body as the direct object of her destructive im- 
pulses for a much longer time and in a much more intense 
degree than the boy; and her positive impulses towards her 
father's penis both the real one and the imaginary one 
inside her mother's body are normally much stronger 
and enduring than his. In his case, it is only during a cer- 
tain period of that early stage in which his attacks upon 
his mother's body dominate the picture that his mother is 
the actual object of them. It is very soon his father's penis, 
supposedly inside her, which to an ever greater extent 
draws to itself his aggressive tendencies against her. 

Early Anxiety-Situations 

Besides the fears which the boy feels in consequence of 
his rivalry with his mother, his fear of his father's danger- 
ous internalized penis stands in the way of his maintaining 
a feminine position. This latter fear, together, in especial, 
with the growing strength of his genital impulses, cause 
him to give up his identification with his mother and to 
fortify his heterosexual position. But if his fear of his 
mother as a rival and his fear of his father's penis are ex- 
cessive, so that he does not properly overcome the feminine 
phase, that phase will be a serious bar to his becoming 
established in a heterosexual position. 

It is, furthermore, of great importance for the final out- 
come of the boy's development whether or no his early 
mental life has been governed by a fear of his father and 
mother combined in copulation and forming an insepar- 


able unit hostile to himself. 1 Anxiety of this kind makes 
it more difficult for him to maintain any position, and 
brings on danger-situations which I should be inclined to 
consider as the deepest causes of sexual impotence in later 
life. These specific danger-situations arise from the boy's 
fear of being castrated by his father's penis inside his 
mother that is, of being castrated by his conjoint, *bad' 
parents and his fear, often strongly evinced, of having his 
own penis cut off from retreat there and shut in inside his 
mother's body. 2 

It has more than once been pointed out in these pages 
that the anxiety-situations resulting from sadistic attacks 
made by children of both sexes on the inside of their 
mother's body fall into two categories. In the first, the 
mother's body becomes a place filled with dangers which 
give rise to all sorts of terrors. In the second, the child's 
own inside is turned into a place of this kind, in virtue of 
the child's introjection of its dangerous objects, especially 
its copulating parents, and it becomes afraid of the perils 
and threats within itself. The anxiety-situations belonging 
to these two categories exert an influence upon one another, 
and, as I say, are present in the girl as well as in the boy; 
and we have already examined the methods of mastering 
anxiety which are common to both. Briefly put, they are 
as follows : The child contends with its internalized 'bad* 
objects by means of the omnipotence of its excrement, 
and also receives protection against them from its 'good' 
objects. At the same time it displaces its fear of internal 
dangers into the outer world by projection and there finds 
evidence to disprove their truth. 

But besides this, each sex has its own essentially different 
modes of mastering anxiety. The boy develops his sense 

1 The aetiological significance of such fears in the psychoses has been pointed 
out in Chapters VIII. and IX. 

1 This fear has a bearing, I think, on various forms of claustrophobia. It 
seems certain that claustrophobia goes back to the fear of being shut up inside 
the mother's dangerous body. In the particular dread of not being able to ex- 
tricate the penis from the mother's body it would seem that this fear has been 
narrowed down to a fear on behalf of the penis. 


of the omnipotence of excreta less strongly than the girl, 
replacing it in part by the omnipotence of the penis; and 
in connection with this his projection of his fear of internal 
dangers is different from the girl's. The specific mechan- 
ism he employs for overcoming his fear both of internal 
and external dangers, at the same as he obtains sexual 
gratification, is determined by the fact that his penis, as an 
active organ, is used to master his object and that it is 
accessible to tests by reality. In gaining possession of his 
mother's body by means of his penis he proves to himself 
his superiority not only over his dangerous external objects 
but over his internal ones as well. 

Sadistic Omnipotence of the Penis 

In the male child the omnipotence of excrements and 
thoughts becomes partly centred in the omnipotence 
of the penis and, especially in the case of excrements, 
partly replaced by it. In his imagination he endows his 
own penis with destructive powers and likens it to 
ferocious and devouring beasts, death-dealing weapons, 
and so on. His belief that his urine is a dangerous sub- 
stance and his equation of his poisonous and explosive 
faeces with his penis go to make the latter the executive 
organ of his sadistic tendencies. Furthermore, certain 
physiological occurrences show him that his penis really 
can change its appearance, and he takes this as a proof 
of its omnipotence. Thus his penis and his sense of omni- 
potence become linked together in a way which is of under- 
lying importance for his activity and his mastery of anxiety. 
In child analysis we often come across the idea of the. 
penis as a 'magic wand*, of masturbation as magic and of 
erection and ejaculation as a tremendous heightening of 
the sadistic powers of the penis. 1 

1 Cf. Abraham, 'Ejaculatio Praecox* (1917). In his 'Beitrage zur Analyse 
des Sadismus und Masochismus* (1913) Federn has discussed the question 
of how the phenomena of active sadism arise in the male individual and 
has come to the conclusion that *the active male organ-component that is 
awaking becomes transformed by means of unconscious mechanisms, of which 


The interior of the mother's body, which succeeds to 
the breast as the child's object, soon takes on the signifi- 
cance of a place which contains many objects (at first repre- 
sented by the penis and excrements). In consequence the 
boy's phantasies of taking possession of his mother's body 
by copulating with her form the basis of his attempts to 
conquer the external world and to master anxiety along 
masculine lines. Both as regards the sexual act and sub- 
limations he displaces his danger-situations into the outer 
world and overcomes them there through the omnipotence 
of his penis. 

In the case of the girl, her belief in her father's *good* 
penis and her fear of his 'bad' one fortify her introjective 
tendencies. Thus the test by reality against her 'bad' ob- 
jects, as carried out by the woman, is ultimately situated 
within herself once again. In the boy, belief in an inter- 
nalized *good' mother and fear of 'bad' objects there assist 
him to displace his reality-tests outwards (i.e. into his 
mother's body). His internalized *good' mother adds to 
the libidinal attraction which his real mother has for him 
and increases his wishes and hopes of Combating and van- 
quishing his father's penis inside her by means of his own 
penis. A victory of this kind would also be a proof that he 
is able to get the better of the internalized assailants in his 
own body as well. 1 

This concentration of sadistic omnipotence in the penis 
is of fundamental importance for the masculine position 
of the boy. If he has a strong primary belief in the omni- 
potence of his penis he can pit it against the omnipotence 

symbolic representation is an important one, into sadism; or more correctly, the 
tendencies which flow from that component are turned into sadistic desires. At 
the same time all the active tendencies that have already been unfolded in the 
child become reactivated/ 

1 In some instances I have been able to ascertain that the boy uses his own 
penis as a weapon against his father's internalized penis as well by turning it 
inwards. He likens his stream of urine to his penis, and looks upon it as a stick 
or whip or sword with which he vanquishes his father's penis inside himself. 
I have also frequently come across a phantasy in which the boy pulls out his 
own penis to such a length that he can take it into his mouth in one instance, 
into his anus. This phantasy is once again actuated by his wish to engage his 
penis in a direct struggle with his super-ego. 


of his father's penis and take up the struggle against that 
dreaded and admired organ. In order for a process of con- 
centration of this kind to take effect it seems that his 
penis must be strongly cathected by the various means of 
enforcement adopted by his sadism ; x and the capacity of 
his ego to tolerate anxiety and the strength of his genital 
ultimately his libidinal impulses 2 will also be of decisive 
importance. But if, when the genital impulses come to the 
fore, the ego should make too sudden and forcible a de- 
fence against the destructive impulses, this process of 
focussing sadism in the penis will be interfered with. 3 

Incentives to Sexual Activity 

The boy's hatred of his father's penis and the anxiety 
arising from the above-mentioned sources incite him to 
get possession of his mother in a genital way and go to 
increase his libidinal desire to copulate with her. More- 
over, as he gradually overcomes his sadism towards her he 
looks upon his father's penis inside her more and more 
not only as a source of danger to his own penis but as 
a source of danger to her body as well and feels that he 
must destroy it inside her for that reason. Another factor 
which acts as an incentive to having coitus with her (and 
which, in the girl, fortifies her homosexual position) is his 
epistemophilic instinct, which has been intensified by his 
anxiety. 4 In this connection he regards his penetrating 
penis as an organ of perception and likens it to the eye 5 

1 According to Ferenczi ('Attempt to Formulate a Genital Theory', 1922) 
pre-genital^erotisms are displaced on to genital activities in virtue of a process 
of amphimixis. 

* Reich has pointed put that the constitutional strength of the genital erotism 
of the individual is an important factor in the final outcome of his development 
(cf. his Die Funktion des Orgasmus, 1927). 

3 Should genital feelings set in too soon and thus lead the ego to make a 
premature and over-strong defence against the destructive impulses, severe 
developmental inhibitions may result (cf. my paper, 'The Importance of Symbol- 
Formation in the Development of the Egro', 1010). 

* Cf. Chapter VIII. ' 

5 Cf. Mary Chadwick, 'Uber die Wurzel der Wissbegierde' (1925). 


or the ear or a combination of the two, and he wants by 
means of it to discover what sort of destruction has been 
done inside his mother by his own penis and excrements 
and by his father's, and to what kind of perils his penis is 
exposed there. 

Thus we see that the boy's impulsion to overcome anxiety 
is also an incentive to him to obtain genital gratification 
and is a promoting agency in his development even at a 
time when he is still under the supremacy of his sadism 
and the measures he employs are wholly of a destructive 
nature. And indeed those destructive measures themselves 
become in part pressed into the service of his restitutive 
tendencies for the purpose of rescuing his mother from 
his father's 'bad' penis inside her, although in doing so 
they still act in a forcible and injurious way. 

'The Woman with a Penis' 

The child's belief that its mother's body contains the 
penis of its father leads, as we have already seen, to the 
idea of 'the woman with a penis'. The sexual theory that 
the mother has a female penis of her own is, I think, the 
result of a modification by displacement of more deeply 
seated fears of her body as a place which is filled with a 
number of dangerous penises and of the two parents en- 
gaged in dangerous copulation. 'The woman with a penis' 
always means, I should say, the woman with the father's 
penis. 1 

Normally, the boy's fear of his father's penises inside 

1 In his 'Odipuskomplex und Homosexualitat' (1927) Felix Boehm has come 
to the conclusion that the phantasies which men often have that the woman's 
vagina conceals a big, 'dangerous* and moving penis a female penis 
receive their pathogenic value from the fact that they are unconsciously con- 
nected with ideas of the hidden presence in the mother's vagina of the lather's 
huge and terrifying penis. In an earlier paper, 'Homosexualitat und Polygamie* 
(1920), Boehm has also pointed out that men often have a desire to meet their 
father's penis inside their mother and that this desire is based on aggressive im- 
pulses against their father's penis. Their impulse to attack his penis inside their 
mother's vagina and the repression of that aggressive impulse are important 
factors, Boehm thinks, in making them homosexual. 


his mother decreases as his relationship to his objects de- 
velops and as he goes forward in the conquest of his own 
sadism. Since his fear of the 'bad' penis is to a great extent 
derived from his destructive impulses against his father's 
penis, and since the character of his imagos depends 
largely on the quality and quantity of his own sadism, the 
reduction of that sadism and with it the reduction of his 
anxiety will lessen the severity of his super-ego and will 
thus improve the relations of his ego both towards his 
internalized, imaginary objects and towards his external, 
real ones. 

Later Stages of the Oedipus Conflict 

If, side by side with the imago of the combined parents, 
imagos of the single father and mother, especially the 
'good* mother, are sufficiently strongly operative, the boy's 
growing relationship to objects and adaptation to reality 
will have the result that his phantasies about his father's 
penis inside his mother will lose their power, and his hatred, 
already less in itself, will be more strongly directed to his 
real object. This will have the effect of separating out his 
imago of the combined parents still more completely; and 
his mother will now be pre-eminently the object of his 
libidinal impulses, while his hatred and anxiety will in 
the main go to his real father (or father's penis) or, by 
displacement, to some other object, as in the case of 
animal phobias. The separate imagos of his mother and 
father will stand out more distinctly and the importance 
of his real objects be increased; and he will now enter 
upon a phase in which his Oedipus tendencies and his 
fear of being castrated by his real father come into pro- 
minence. 1 

Nevertheless, the earliest anxiety-situations are, I have 
found, still latent in him to a greater or less degree, in spite 
of all the modifications they have undergone in the course 

1 When this happens it is a sign that the separation of his combined parent- 
imago has been successfully achieved, and that his infantile psychotic anxiety 
has been modified into a neurosis. 


of his development; 1 and so, too, are all the defensive 
mechanisms and mechanisms belonging to later stages, 
which arise from those anxiety-situations. In the deepest 
layers of his mind, therefore, it is always by the 'bad' 
father's penis belonging to his mother that he expects to 
be castrated. But so long as his early anxiety-situations are 
not too powerful and, above all, so long as his mother 
stands for the 'good* mother to a sufficient extent, her body 
will be a desirable place, though a place which can only be 
conquered with greater or less risk to himself, according 
to the magnitude of the anxiety-situations involved. This 
element of danger and anxiety, which in every normal man 
allies itself to copulation, is an incentive to sexual activity 
and increases the libidinal gratification he gets from copu- 
lating; but if it exceeds a certain limit it will have a dis- 
turbing effect in that connection and even prevent him 
from being able to perform the sexual act at all. In his 
deepest unconscious phantasies copulation involves over- 
powering or doing away with his father's penis inside the 
woman. To this struggle with his father inside his mother 
are attached, I think, those sadistic impulses which are 
normally present when he takes possession of her in a 
genital way. Thus, while his original displacement of his 
father's penis to the inside of his mother's body makes her 
a permanent anxiety-object for him though the degree to 
which this is so varies very greatly from person to person 
it also increases the attraction which women have for 
him very considerably, because it is an incentive to him to 
overcome his anxiety in regard to them. 

In the normal course of things, as the boy's genital 
tendencies grow stronger and he overcomes his sadistic 
impulses, his phantasies of making restitution begin to 
occupy a wider field. As has already been seen, phantasies 
of this kind in regard to his mother already exist while his 
sadis.m is still in the ascendant and take the form of de- 
stroying his father's c bad' penis inside her. Their first and 
main object is his mother, and the more she has stood for 

1 Cf. Chapter IX. 


the *goocT object to him the more readily do his restitutive 
phantasies attach themselves to her imago. 1 This is especi- 
ally clearly seen in play analyses. When the boy's reactive 
tendencies become stronger he begins to play in a con- 
structive way. In games of building houses and villages, 
for instance, he will symbolize the restoration of his 
mother's body and his own 2 in a way that corresponds in 
every detail with the acts of destruction he has played at 
in an earlier stage of his analysis, or still plays at in alterna- 
tion with his constructive games. He will start building a 
town by putting houses together in all sorts of ways, and 
will set up a toy man representing himself as a police- 
man to regulate the traffic, and this policeman will always 
be on the look-out to see that cars or carts do not run into 
one another, or houses get damaged or pedestrians run 
over; whereas in former games the town was frequently 
being damaged by colliding vehicles, and the people 
knocked down. In a still earlier period, perhaps, his sadism 
took a more direct form and he used to wet, burn and cut up 
all sorts of articles which symbolized his mother's inside 
and its contents, i.e. his father's penis and children, while 
at the same time these destructive acts represented the 
damage he wanted his father's penis to do there as well. 
As a reaction to these sadistic phantasies in which the 
violent and overpowering penis (his father's and his own), 
as represented by the moving cars, destroys his mother and 
injures the children inside, as represented by the toy people, 
he now has phantasies of restoring her body the town 
in all the respects in which he previously damaged it. 

& *; 

Restitutive Tendencies and Sexic&l Activities 

It has repeatedly been said in these pages that the sexual 
act is a very important means of mastering anxiety for both 

^ l That the boy's restitutive tendencies are directed to the 'good' object, and 
his destructive ones to the 'bad' object, has already been made clear in another 

* Since the boy's anxiety-situations in regard to his mother's inside and his 
anxiety concerning his own body are inter-related and interdependent, his phan- 


sexes. In the early stages of the child's development the 
sexual act, in addition to its libidinal purposes, serves to 
destroy or injure the object (though positive tendencies are 
already at work behind the scenes). In later stages it serves 
to restore the mother *s injured body and thus to master 
anxiety and guilt. 

In discussing the underlying sources of the girl's homo- 
sexual attitude, we have seen how important to her is the 
idea of possessing a *beneficent' penis and constructive 
omnipotence in the sexual act* What has been said there 
applies equally to the heterosexual attitude of the man. 
Under the supremacy of the genital stage he attributes to 
his penis in copulation the function not only of giving the 
woman pleasure, but of making good in her all the damage 
which it and his father's penis have done. In analysing boys 
we find that the penis is supposed to perform all kinds of 
curative and cleansing functions. If, during his period of 
sadistic omnipotence, the boy has used his penis in im- 
agination for sadistic purposes such as flooding, poison- 
ing or burning things with his urine he will, in his period 
of making restitution, regard it as a fire-extinguisher, a 
scrubbing-brush or a container of healing medicines. Just 
as his former belief in the sadistic qualities of his own penis 
involved a belief in the sadistic power of his father's penis, 
so now his belief in his *good* penis involves a belief in his 
father's 'good' penis; and just as then his sadistic phantasies 
went to transform his father's penis into an instrument of 
destruction for his mother, so now his restitutive phan- 
tasies and sense of guilt go to turn it into a 'good* and bene- 
ficent organ. 1 A . result, his fear of his *bad' v!per-ego 

tasies of restoring his mother's body apply In every particular to the restoration of his 
own. We shall presently go on to consider this aspect of his phantasies of restitution. 
1 The boy's sense of guilt towards his mother and his fear that his father's 
'bad' penis may do her harm contribute in no small degree to his endeavour to 
restore his fathers penis as well and give it back to her, and to unite the two in 
an amicable fashion. In certain instances this desire can become so dominating 
that he will relinquish his mother as a love-object and make her over to his 
father entirely. This situation disposes him to go over to a homosexual position; 
in which case his homosexuality would serve the purpose of making restitution 
towards his father's penis, whose function it would then be to restore his mother 
and give her gratification. 



derived from his father becomes lessened, and he can now 
give up identifying himself with his 'bad' father in relation 
to his real objects (an identification which is in part based 
on his identification of himself with his anxiety-object) and 
can identify himself more strongly with his 'good' father. 
If his ego is able to tolerate and modify a certain quantity 
of destructive feeling against his father and if his belief in 
his father's 'good' penis is strong enough, he can maintain 
both his rivalry with his father (which is essential for the 
establishment of a heterosexual position) and his identifica- 
tion with him. His belief in his father's 'good' penis in- 
creases the sexual attraction he feels for women, for in 
his phantasy they will then contain objects which are not 
so very dangerous and objects which on account of his 
homosexual attitude in which the 'good' penis is a love- 
object are actually desirable. 1 His destructive impulses 
will retain his father's rival penis as their object and his 
positive impulses will be mainly directed to his mother. 

Significance of the Feminine Phase in 

The final attainment of a heterosexual position depends 
upon the boy's early feminine phase of development 
having run a favourable course and having been success- 
fully overcome. In an earlier paper 2 I pointed out that the 
boy often compensates the feelings of hate, anxiety, envy 
and inferiority that spring from his feminine phase by re- 
inforcing his pride in the possession of a penis and that 
he displaces that pride on to intellectual activities. 3 This 

1 Where the boy's fear of the *ba<T penis or, not infrequently, his inability 
to tolerate his own sadism heighten his belief in the 'good* penis to an exaggerated 
degree, not only in regard to his father's penis inside his mother, but in regard 
to his super-ego, his attitude towards women may become quite distorted. The 
heterosexual act will serve first and foremost to satisfy his Homosexual desires, 
and the womb will be nothing more than something which contains the 'good* 

2 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict' (1928). 

3 In her paper, *Uber die Wurzel der Wissbegierde* (1928), Mary Chadwick 
considers that the boy is reconciled to his inability to have a child oy the exer- 
cise of his epistemophilic instinct and that scientific discovery and intellectual 


displacement forms the basis of a very inimical attitude of 
rivalry towards women and affects his character-formation 
in the same way as envy of the penis affects theirs. The 
excessive anxiety he feels on account of his sadistic attacks 
on his mother's body becomes the source of very grave 
disturbances in his relations to the opposite sex. But if his 
anxiety and sense of guilt become less acute it will be those 
very feelings which give rise to the various elements of his 
phantasies of restitution that will enable him to have an 
intuitive understanding of women. 

This early feminine phase has yet another favourable 
effect on the boy's relations to women in later life. The 
difference between the sexual tendencies of the man and 
the woman necessitates, as we know, different psychologi- 
cal conditions of gratification for each and leads each to 
seek the fulfilment of different and mutually incompatible 
requirements in their relations to one another. Usually, the 
woman wants to have the object of her love always with 
her in the last analysis, inside her; whereas the man, 
owing to his outwardly-orientated psycho-sexual tenden- 
cies and his method of mastering anxiety, is inclined to 
change his love-object frequently (though his desire to 
keep it in so far as it represents his *good' mother makes 
against that tendency). Should he, in spite of these diffi- 
culties, nevertheless be able to be in touch with the mental 
needs of the woman, it will be to a large extent because of 
his earliest identification with his mother. For in that phase 
he introjects his father's penis as a love-object, and it is the 
desires and phantasies he has in this connection which, if 
his relation to his mother is a good one, help him to under- 
stand the woman's tendency to introject and preserve what 
she loves. 1 In addition, the wish to have children by his 

achievements take the place for him of having a child. It is, according to her, 
this displacement on to the mental plane of his envy of women for being able 
to have a.child which makes him take up an attitude of rivalry to them in matters 
of thought. 

1 Edoardo Weiss, in his paper *Uber eine noch unbeschriebene Phase der 
Entwicklung zur heterosexuellen Liebe* (1925), states that the heterosexual choice 
of object made by the adult male results from the projection of his own femininity. 


father, which springs from that phase, leads him to regard 
the woman as his child; and he plays the part of the bounti- 
ful mother towards her. 1 In this way he also satisfies his 
partner's love-wishes arising from her strong attachment 
to her mother. Thus, and only thus, by sublimating his 
feminine instinctual components and surmounting his feel- 
ings of envy, hatred and anxiety towards his mother, will 
he be able to consolidate his heterosexual position in the 
stage of genital supremacy. 

We have already learnt why it is that, when the genital 
stage has been fully attained, a necessary condition for 
sexual potency should be that the boy believes in the 'good- 
ness' of his penis that is, in his capacity to make restitu- 
tion by means of the sexual act. 2 This belief has its concrete 
basis in a belief that the inside of his body is in a good state. 
In both sexes the anxiety-situations which arise from sup- 
posed destructive events, attacks and encounters inside the 
subject's body and which merge with anxiety-situations re- 
lating to similar events inside the mother's body constitute 
the most profound danger-situations of all. Fear of castra- 
tion, which is only a part though an important part of 
the anxiety felt about the whole body, becomes, in the male 
individual, a dominating theme that overshadows all his 
other fears to a greater or less extent. But this is precisely 
because one of the deepest sources to which disturbances 
in his sexual potency go back is his anxiety about the in- 
terior of his body. The house or town which the boy is so 
keen to build up again in his play signifies not only his 
mother's renewed and intact body but his own. 

and he believes that it is owing to this mechanism of projection that the adult 
man retains in part a maternal attitude towards his female partner. He also 
points out that the woman attains her final heterosexual position in a corre- 
sponding way, by giving up her masculinity and situating it in the man she 

1 Reich has shown that in many patients the penis assumes the r6le of the 
mother's breast, and semen, that of milk (cf. his Die Function des Orgasmus, 

* Such a conviction grows steadily stronger in analysis in proportion as the 
severity of his super-ego, anxiety and sadism diminish and the genital stage 
emerges more clearly, with an accompanying improvement in his relation to his 
object and in the relations between his super-ego, ego and id. 


Secondary Reinforcement of Penis-Pride 

In describing the development of the boy, I have drawn 
attention to certain factors which tend, as I think, to in- 
crease yet more the central importance which the penis 
possesses for him. They may be summed up as follows: 
(i) The anxiety arising from his earliest danger-situations 
his fears of being attacked in all parts of his body and 
inside it which include all his fears belonging to the 
feminine position, are displaced on to the penis as an ex- 
ternal organ, where they can be more successfully mastered. 
The increased pride the boy takes in his penis, and all that 
this involves, may also be said to be a method of mastering 
those fears and disappointments which his feminine posi- 
tion lays him open to more particularly. 1 (2) The fact that 
the penis is a vehicle first of the boy's destructive and then 
of his creative omnipotence, enhances its importance as a 
means of mastering anxiety. In thus ministering to his 
sense of omnipotence, assisting him in his task of testing by 
reality and promoting his object-relationships in fact, in 
subserving the all-important function of mastering anxiety 
the penis is brought into specially close relation with 
the ego and is made into a representative of the ego and the 
conscious ;* while the interior of the body, the imagos and 
the faeces what is invisible and unknown, that is are 
compared to the unconscious. Moreover, in analysing male 
patients, whether boys or men, I have found that as their 
fear of their bad imagos and faeces (i.e. the unconscious) 
that were supreme inside them diminished, their belief 
in their own sexual potency was strengthened and the de- 
velopment of their ego gained ground. 3 This latter effect 
is partly due to the fact that the boy's lessened fear of his 
'bad* super-ego and the 'bad' contents of his body enables 
him to identify himself better with his 'good' introjected 

1 Cf. my 'Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict* (1928). 
1 This view is supported by a well-established fact of analytic observation, 
namely, that the penis and male potency stand for masculine activity in general. 
* Cf. my paper, *A Contribution to the Theory of Intellectual Inhibition* 


objects, and thus allows of a further enrichment of his 

As soon as his confidence in the constructive omnipot- 
ence of his penis is firmly enough established, his belief 
in the power of his father's 'good' penis inside him will 
form the basis of a secondary belief in his omnipotence 
which will support and strengthen the line of development 
already laid down for him by his own penis. And, as has 
been said, the result of his growing relationship to objects 
will be that his unreal imagos recede into the background, 
while his feelings of hatred and fear of castration come into 
sharper relief and fix themselves on to his real father. At 
the same time his restitutive tendencies are increasingly 
directed towards external objects and his methods of 
mastering anxiety become more realistic. All these ad- 
vances in his development run parallel with the growing 
supremacy of his genital stage and characterize the later 
stages of his Oedipus conflict. 

Disturbances of Sexual Development 

Stress has already been laid on the child's phantasy of 
its parents perpetually joined in copulation as a source 
of very intense anxiety-situations. Under the influence of 
such a phantasy its mother's body represents above all a 
union of mother and father which is extremely dangerous 
and which is directed against itself. If the separation of this 
combined parent-imago does not take place to a sufficient 
degree in the course of its development, the child will be 
overtaken by severe disturbances both of its object-rela- 
tionships and of its sexual life. A predominance of this 
kind of the combined parent-imago goes back, as far as my 
experience goes, to disturbances in the earliest relations of 
small children to their mother, or rather, to her breast. 1 
Although its effects are very fundamental in children of 
both sexes, they are already different for each in the earliest 
stages of development. In the following pages we shall 

1 Cf. Chapter VIII. 


confine our attention to the boy and examine how these 
terrifying phantasies gain the ascendancy and in what way 
they influence his sexual development. 1 

In my analyses of boys and adult men I have found that 
when strong oral-sucking impulses have combined with 
strong oral-sadistic ones, the infant has turned away from 
his mother's breast with hatred very early. 2 His early and 
intense destructive tendencies against her breast have led 
him to introject a 'bad* mother for the most part; and 
his sudden giving up of her breast has been followed by 
an exceedingly strong introjection of his father's penis. His 
feminine phase has been governed by feelings of hatred 
and envy towards his mother, and at the same time, as a 
result of his powerful oral-sadistic impulses, he has come 
to have an acute hatred and a correspondingly acute fear of 
his internalized father's penis. 3 His intensely strong oral- 
sucking impulses have brought on phantasies of an unin- 
terrupted and everlasting process of taking in nourishment, 
while his sadistic impulses have led him to believe that in 
receiving nourishment and sexual gratification by copulat- 
ing with his father's penis his mother has suffered much 
pain and injury and that the interior of her body is filled 
to bursting point with his huge, 'bad' penises which are 
destroying her in all sorts of ways. In his imagination she 
has become not only the 'woman with a penis' but a kind 
of receptacle of his father's penises and of his dangerous 
excrement which is equated with them. 4 In this way he has 

1 For a description of their application to the girl see the previous chapter. 

* In some of these cases the sucking period has been short and unsatisfactory; 
in others the child had only been given the bottle. But even where the period of 
sucking has to all appearances been satisfactory, the child may nevertheless have 
turned away from the breast very soon and with feelings of hatred and may 
have introjected his father's penis very strongly. In this case, his behaviour must 
have been determined by constitutional factors. 

8 The boy's exaggerated hatred of his father's penis is based on excessively 
strong destructive phantasies directed towards his mother's breast and body; 
so that here, too, his early attitude to his mother influences his attitude to his 

4 The imagos which have arisen from these phantasies are usually not only 
cjuite at variance with the real picture of the boy's mother but entirely obscure 
it. Here cause and effect reinforce one another. Owing to the too strong operation 
of the boy's earliest anxiety-situations, the growth of his object-relationship and 


displaced on to his mother great quantities of hatred and 
anxiety which attached to his frther and his father's penis, 1 
Thus a strong and premature oral sadism on the one hand 
encourages the child to make attacks upon his parents 
joined in copulation and to be terrified of their imago in 
that aspect, and on the other prevents him from creating 
a good mother-imago which would have sustained him 
against his early anxiety-situations, laid the foundation of 
a good super-ego in him (in the form of helping figures) 2 
and led him to adopt a heterosexual position. 

Next, there are the consequences which follow when the 
feminine phase is too strongly governed by sadism. The 
boy's inordinately strong introjection of his father's huge 
'bad* penis make him believe that his body is exposed to 
the same dangers from within as his mother's is. And his 
introjection of his hostile parents joined in copulation, to- 
gether with his very feeble introjection of a 'good' mother, 
work in the same direction. In giving rise to an excess of 
anxiety concerning his own inside, these introjective pro- 
cesses pave the way not only for serious mental ill-health 
but for severe disturbances in his sexual development. As 
we have seen, the possession of 'good' contents in the body 
and with it, on the genital level, the possession of a 'good' 
penis are a pre-condition of sexual potency. If the boy's 
attacks on his mother's breast and body have been ex- 
ceptionally intense, so that, in his imagination, she has been 
destroyed by his father's penis and his own, he will have 
all the more need of a *good' penis with which to restore 
her; and he will have to have especial confidence in his 
potency in order to -dissipate his terrors of his mother's 

adaptation to reality have been arrested. As a consequence of this, his world of 
objects and reality cannot mitigate the anxiety belonging to those earliest 
anxiety-situations, so that these continue to dominate his mind. I have found 
that in such cases the child's relation to reality has remained permanently 

1 In the previous chapter we have traced an analogous process of displacement 
in the girl. Where her hatred and envy are mainly concerned with her father's 
penis which her mother has incorporated, she displaces those feelings, which 
were originally mostly directed to her mother, on to his penis, with the result 
that her attitude to men is open to severe disturbances. 

2 Cf. my paper, 'Personification in the Play of Children* (1929). 


dangerous and endangered body, filled with his father's 
penises. Yet it is precisely his fear on account of his mother 
and the contents of his own body which prevents him from 
believing in his possession of a 'good' penis and sexual 
potency. The cumulative effect of all these factors may be 
to make him turn away from women as objects of love, 
and, according to what his early experiences have been, 
either to suffer from disturbances of potency in his hetero- 
sexual position or to become homosexual. 1 

Adoption of Homosexuality 

This process of displacement, in which all that is terrify- 
ing and uncanny is located in the interior of the woman's 
body, is often accompanied by another process which 
seems to be a necessary condition for the complete estab- 
lishment of a homosexual position. In the normal attitude, 
the boy's penis represents his ego and his conscious, as 
opposed to the contents of his body and his super-ego 
which represent his unconscious. In his homosexual atti- 
tude this significance is extended by his narcissistic choice 
of object to the penis of another male, and this penis now 
serves as a counter-proof against all his fears concerning 
the penis inside him and the interior of his body. Thus in 
homosexuality one mode of mastering anxiety is that the ego 
endeavours to deny, control or get the better of the uncon- 
scious by over-emphasizing reality and the external world 
and all that is tangible and perceptible to consciousness. 

In such cases I have found that where the boy has had 
a homosexual relation in early childhood he has had a good 
opportunity of moderating his feelings of hatred and fear 
of his father's penis and of strengthening his belief in the 
*good' penis. Upon such a relation 3 moreover, all his homo- 
sexual affairs in later life will rest. It is designed to provide 
him with a number of assurances, of which I will mention 
a few of the most common: (i) that his father's penis, both 
internalized and real, is not a dangerous persecutor either 

1 In extreme cases his libido will be unable to maintain any position whatever. 


(a) for him or () for his mother; (2) that his own penis is 
not destructive; (3) that his fears, as a small child, lest 
his sexual relations with his brother or brother-substitute 
should be discovered and he should be turned out of the 
house, castrated or killed 1 have no foundation, since his 
homosexual acts are followed by no evil consequences; (4) 
that he has got secret confederates and accomplices, for in 
early life his sexual relations with his brother (or brother- 
substitute) meant that the two were banded together to 
destroy their parents separately or combined in copulation. 
In his imagination his partner in love will sometimes take 
on the role of his father, with whom he undertook secret 
attacks upon his mother during the sexual act and by 
means of it (one of the parents being thus played off against 
the other), and sometimes that of his brother who, with 
himself, set upon and destroyed his father's penis inside 
his mother and himself. 

The feeling (based upon having sadistic masturbation 
phantasies in common) of being leagued with another 
against the parents by means of the sexual act, a feeling 
which is, I think, of general importance for the sexual re- 
lations of small children, is closely bound up with paranoic 
mechanisms. 2 Where such mechanisms are very strongly 
operative the child will have a strong bias towards finding 
allies and accomplices in his libidinal position and object- 
relationship* The possibility of gaining his mother on to 
his side against his father ultimately, that is, of destroy- 
ing his father's penis inside her by copulating with her 
may become a necessary condition for his adoption of a 
heterosexual position; and it may enable him when he is 
grown up to maintain that position in spite of his having 
marked paranoid traits. On the other hand, if his fear of 
his mother's dangerous body is too strong and his good 
mother-imago has not been able to develop, his phantasies 
of allying himself with his father against his mother and of 

1 Behind this fear lurks the fear of his mother as a rival who tries to make him 
responsible for the castration and theft of his father's penis. 
* Cf. Chapter VII, 


joining with his brother against both parents, will incline 
him to establish a homosexual position. 

The child's impulse to play off his objects against one 
another and to get power over them by securing secret 
allies has its roots, as far as I can see, in phantasies of 
omnipotence in which, by means of the magical attributes 
of excrements and thoughts, poisonous faeces and flatus are 
introduced into his objects in order to dominate or destroy 
them. In this connection the child's faeces are the instru- 
ments of his secret attacks upon the inside of his objects 
and are regarded by him as evil-doing objects or animals 
who are acting on behalf of his ego. These phantasies of 
grandeur and omnipotence play a great part in delusions 
of persecution and reference and in delusions of being 
poisoned. They make the patient afraid of being attacked 
by his objects in the same secret manner as he attacked 
them, 1 and sometimes, too, afraid of his own excrements, 
in case they should turn upon his ego in a hostile and 
treacherous way. In analysing both children and adults I 
have also come across a fear that their faeces have in some 
way assumed an independent existence and are no longer 
under their control, and are doing harm to their internal 
and external objects against the will of the ego. In such in- 
stances the faeces were likened to all sorts of small animals 
and vermin such as rats, mice, flies, fleas and so on. 2 

Where the individual is most occupied with a paranoid 
anxiety in regard to stool and penis as persecutors, his 
love-object of the same sex will represent first and fore- 
most an ally against his persecutors. His libidinal desire 
for a *good' penis will be strongly over-compensated and 
will serve the purpose of concealing his feelings of hate and 
fear towards the *bad* penis. Should such a compensation 

i Cf. Chapter VIII. 

a My five-year-old patient Franz, for instance, who revealed marked psychotic 
traits in his analysis, was afraid in the dark of a multitude of rats and mice who 
would come out of the next-door room into his bedroom and advance upon him 
as he lay in bed, one lot attacking him from above, the other from below. They 
represented faeces coming from his parents and entering his anus and other 
openings of the body as a result of his own anal-sadistic attacks upon his 


fail, his hatred and fear of his love-object will come out and 
effect a paranoic reversal of the beloved person into the 
persecutor. 1 

These mechanisms, which are dominant in cases of a 
paranoic character, enter, though to a lesser degree, into 
every homosexual activity. The sexual act between men 
always in part serves to gratify sadistic impulses and to 
confirm the sense of destructive omnipotence ; and behind 
the positive libidinal relation to the 'good* penis as an ex- 
ternal love-object there lurk, to a greater or less extent, 
according to the Amount of hatred present, not only hatred 
of the father's penis but also destructive impulses against 
the sexual partner and the fear of him that they give rise to. 

In his 'Homosexualitat und Odipuskomplex' (1926) 
Felix Boehm has turned his attention to 'the part played 
by that aspect of the Oedipus-Complex which consists of 
the child's hatred of his father and of his death-wishes and 
active castration-wishes against him*. He has shown that 
in performing homosexual acts the male individual very 
frequently has two aims: (i) to make his partner impotent 
for the heterosexual act, in which case it is mostly merely 
a question of keeping him away from women, and (2) to 
castrate him, in which case he wants to get possession of 
his partner's penis as well so as to increase his own sexual 
potency with women. As regards the first aim, my own 
observations lead me to believe that his wish to keep other 
men away from women (i.e. his mother or sister) is based 
not only on a primary jealousy of his father but on a fear 
of the risks his mother incurs in copulating with him. Since 
those risks arise not only from his father's penis but from 
his own sadistic penis, he is provided with a very strong 
motive for adopting a homosexual position. In this posi- 
tion, as I have found from analyses both of boys and men, 
he has in his unconscious made a compact with his father 
and brothers by which they shall all abstain from having 
intercourse with his mother (and sisters) so as to spare her 
and shall seek compensation for that abstention in one an- 

1 Cf. Chapter IX. 


other. 1 As regards the second aim, I am in full agreement 
with Boehm's view. The child's desire to castrate his father 
so as to get his penis and be potent in sexual intercourse 
with his mother urges him towards a homosexual position, 
In some instances I have ascertained that his aim was not 
only to get possession of an especially potent penis but to 
store up an enormous amount of semen which, according 
to his phantasies, is necessary in order to give his mother 
sexual gratification. 2 In addition to this, he wants to put 
'good* penises and *good* semen inside himself so as to 
make the interior of his body whole and well. And this 
wish is heightened in the genital stage by his belief that if 
his inside is unimpaired he will be able to give his mother 
'good* semen and children as well a situation which goes 
to increase his potency in the heterosexual position. If, on 
the other hand, his sadistic tendencies predominate, his 
desire to get possession of his father *s penis and semen by 
means of the homosexual act will also in part have a hetero- 
sexual aim. For in satisfying himself with his sadistic father 
he will have all the more power to destroy his mother by 
copulating with her. 

It has been said more than once that the epistemophilic 
instinct provides a motive force in general for the perform- 
ance of the sexual act. But where the individual obtains 
gratification of this instinct in connection with homosexual 
activities he employs it in part to increase his efficiency in 
the heterosexual position. The homosexual act is designed 
to realize his early childhood desire of having an oppor- 
tunity of seeing in what respect his father's penis differs 

1 Freud has drawn attention to the fact that in some cases what contributes 
to a homosexual-choice of object are feelings of rivalry that have been surmounted 
and aggressive tendencies that have been repressed (cf. 'Certain Neurotic 
Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality', 1922). Sadger has 
emphasized the boy's rivalry with his father and his desire to castrate him as 
factors in homosexuality ('Ein Fall von multipler Perversion mit hysterischen 
Absenzen', 1910), Ferenczi has pointed out that homosexuals entertain cruel 
death-wishes against their father as well as lustful-cruel phantasies of attack upon 
their mother (*On the Nosology of Male Homosexuality", 1914). 

1 The disproportion between the huge penis and vast quantities of semen which 
he thinks are needed to satisfy his mother and the smaUness of his own penis is 
one of the things that help to render him impotent in later life* 


from his own and to find out how it behaves in copulating 
with his mother. He wants to know how to grow more 
adept and potent in sexual intercourse with his mother. 1 

Case Material Mr. B 2 

I shall now proceed to give extracts from a case history 
in order to illustrate the significance of some of the above- 
discussed factors in the adoption of the homosexual- posi- 
tion. B , a man in the middle of the thirties, came to 

me for treatment on account of a severe inhibition in work 
and deep depressions. His inhibition in work, which was 
a fairly long-standing one, had been increased to such a 
degree by a certain event in his life which I shall presently 
relate that he had been obliged to give up the research 
work he was engaged in and to resign his post as a teacher. 
It appeared that although the development of his character 
and his ego had been perfectly successful and he was un- 
usually gifted intellectually, he suffered from severe dis- 
turbances of mental health. His fits of depression went 
back to early childhood but had become so acute in recent 
years that they had brought on a general state of depression 
and had led him to cut himself off from other people to a 
great extent. He was afraid quite without cause that 
his appearance put people off, and this added more and 
more to his dislike of society. He also suffered from a 
severe doubting-mania, which covered the field of his in- 
tellectual interests to an ever-widening extent and was 
particularly painful to him. 

Behind these more manifest symptoms I was able to 
elicit the presence of a profound hypochondria 8 and strong 
ideas of persecution and reference, which at times took on 
the character of delusion but to which he seemed curiously 

1 Boehm refers (loc. cit.) to a patient who used, among other things, to find out 
in his homosexual affairs with men what their 'sexual technique' with women was. 

* For additional case material, see pages 383-388. 

* B *s continual worry and preoccupation about his appearance proved to 

be a displacement outwards of his worry about the interior of his boay and of 
his hypochondriacal anxiety concerning it. 


indifferent. He was able to conceal from everyone about 
him his ideas of reference and persecution and his hypo- 
chondriacal anxiety and even to some extent his serious 
obsessional symptoms. This extraordinary power of dis- 
simulation went along with his paranoid characteristics, 
which were very strong. Although he felt that he was being 
observed and spied upon by people and was very sus- 
picious of them, his psychological subtlety was so great that 
he knew how to hide his thoughts and feelings completely. 
But alongside of this dissembling and calculating strain in 
him there was a great freshness and spontaneity of feeling 
which sprang from his positive object-relationship and 
went back originally to strong optimistic feelings in the 
depths of his mind; these latter had also helped him to 
conceal his illness from view, but in the last few years they 
had lost almost all their efficacy. 

B was a true homosexual. While having good rela- 
tions to women (and to men) as human beings, as sexual 
objects he rejected them so completely that he was quite un- 
able to understand how they could be supposed to possess 
any attraction whatever. 1 From a physical point of view 
they were something strange, mysterious and uncanny to 
him. The shape of their bodies repelled him, especially 
their breasts and buttocks and their lack of a penis. 2 His 
dislike of their breasts and buttocks was based on intensely 
strong sadistic impulses. He had phantasies of beating 
those 'sticking out' parts of their body until they became, 
as it were, 'beaten in* and thus 'reduced', and then perhaps, 
he said, he would be able to love vomen. These phantasies 
were determined by his unconscious idea that the woman 
was so full of the father's penises and dangerous excre- 
ments equated to the penis, that they had burst her open 
and were protruding out of her body. Thus his hatred 
of her 'sticking out* parts was really aimed at his father's 

1 Once or twice in bis life he had had sexual intercourse with women but he 
had never got any real gratification from it. His chief motives for engaging- in 
an ephemeral affair of this kind were curiosity, a wish to do what other, hetero- 
sexual, men did, and, in especial, a dislike of wounding the feelings of the other 
party, who had in each case been the more willing one. 

1 We shall see later on why this lack terrified him so much. 


internalized and re-emerging penises. 1 In his imagination 
the interior of the woman's body was an infinitely large 
space where every kind of danger and death lurked, and 
she herself was only a kind of case containing terrifying 
penises and dangerous excrements. Her delicate skin and 
all her other feminine attributes he regarded as a quite 
superficial cover for the destruction that was going on in- 
side her, and, although they pleased him, he dreaded them 
all the more as being so many signs of her deceitful and 
treacherous nature. 

By likening the penis to pieces of stool my patient ex- 
tended his displacement of the fear excited by his father's 
penis on to his mother's body still further and applied it to 
his father's poisonous and dangerous excrements as well. 
In this way he sought to cover up and put out of sight 
inside his mother all the things that he hated and feared. 
That this far-reaching process of displacement had failed 

can be inferred from the fact that B became once 

more aware of his concealed anxiety-objects in the shape 
of the female breasts and buttocks. They symbolized per- 
secutors who were issuing out of the woman's body and 
observing him; and, as he told me with evident dislike and 
anxiety, he would never dare even to strike or attack them 
because he was too frightened of touching them. 

At the same time as he had thus displaced on to his 
mother's body all those things which aroused his fear, so 
that it became an object of horror to him, he had idealized 
the penis and the male sex in a very high degree. To him 
the male, in whom all was manifest and clearly brought to 
view and who concealed no secrets within himself was 
alone the natural and beautiful object. 2 Similarly, he had 
very strongly repressed everything that had to do with the 

1 As has been said in Chapter IV., the head, arms, hands and feet of the 
woman are often regarded in the unconscious as the father's internalized penis 
that has come out again; her limbs the pair of legs, feet or arms or even fingers 
often signify both internalized parents. 

* Since the possession of a penis was so necessary to him for overcoming 
anxiety, all B- *s fears about the interior of the "woman's body were increased 
by the fact of her having no such external organ. 


inside of his own body and had concentrated his interest 
in all that was on its surface and visible about it, especially 
the penis. But how strong were his doubts even on this 
head could be seen from the fact that when he was about 
five years old he had asked his nurse which she thought 
was worst 'in front or behind* (meaning penis or anus) 
and had been very much taken aback when she had 
answered 'in front'. He also remembered when he was about 
eight years old standing at the top of the stairs and looking 
down them and hating himself and the black stockings he 
had on. 1 His associations showed that his parents' house 
had always seemed specially gloomy to him 'dead', in 
fact and that he held himself responsible for this in its 
symbolic signification of his mother's body and his own, 
brought to ruin by his dangerous excrements (the black 
stockings), which had damaged both her and him. In con- 
sequence of his extensive repression of his 'inside* and his 

displacement of it on to his 'outside', B had come to 

hate and fear the latter, not only in regard to his personal 
appearance, though this was a continual source of worry 
and care to him, but to other allied matters. For instance, 
he had the same loathing for certain articles of dress, 
especially his underclothes, that he had had for his black 
stockings and felt as though they were his enemies and 
were hemming him in and weighing him down by clinging 
so closely to his body. 2 They represented his internalized 
objects and excrements which were persecuting him from 
within. In virtue of the displacement of his fears of internal 
dangers into the external world, his enemies inside him 
had been transformed into enemies outside him. 

1 Looking down meant looking inside himself. In other cases I have been 
able to discover that looking into the distance stood for introspection. It -would 
seem that for the unconscious nothing is more distant and more unfathomable 
than the inside of the mother's body and, still more, the inside of one's own body. 

* In other cases, too, I have found that things on the outside of the body 
represent things inside it. My six-year-old patient, Gunthcr, used always to be 
making paper snakes, winding them round his neck and then tearing them up, 
He did this in order to master his fear not only of his father's penis which was 
strangling him from outside, but of his father's penis which was suffocating him 
and killing him from within. 



Let us now turn to a consideration of the structure of 
the case. The patient had been brought up on the bottle. 
Since his libidinal components had not been gratified by 
his mother, his oral-sucking fixation on the breast had been 
impeded. Owing to this frustration, too, his destructive 
impulses against the breast had been increased and he had 
transformed that part of the body into dangerous beasts 
and monsters in his imagination. (In his unconscious he 
likened female breasts to harpies.) This process had been 
assisted by his equation of the breast with his father's penis, 
which, he thought, had been put inside her body and was 
re-emerging from it. He had," moreover, very soon begun to 
liken the mouthpiece of the bottle to a penis and, in conse- 
quence of his frustration in regard to the breast, to turn 
to it with special eagerness as an object of gratification for 
his oral-sucking desires. His adoption of a homosexual 
attitude had been very greatly helped on by the fact 
that he had been seduced very early in life some time 
approximately in his second year by his brother, who was 
about two years his senior. Since the act si fellatio gratified 
his hitherto starved oral-sucking desires, this event led him 
to become too strongly fixated on the penis. Another factor 
was that his father, who had up till then been a very un- 
demonstrative man, became more affectionate under the 
influence of his youngest son. The little boy had been 
determined to win his love and he had succeeded. Analysis 
showed that he regarded this victory as a proof that he was 
able to turn his father's 'bad' penis into a 'good' one. And 
his efforts to effect a transformation of this kind and thus 
dissipate a number of fears became in later years one of his 
motives for having affairs with men. 

B had two brothers. For Leslie, the one who had 

seduced him, who was two years older than himself, he 
had had a great admiration and love even as a small boy, 
and he made him the representative of the 'good' penis 
partly, no doubt, on account of the early gratification of his 
oral cravings which he had received from him through the 
sexual act. His greatest ambition was to become worthy of 


his friendship and to follow assiduously in his footsteps ; 
and, in fact, he chose the same profession. To his other 
brother, David, who was older than himself by four years 5 he 
had quite a different attitude. This brother was his father's 
son by a former marriage, and B felt, probably cor- 
rectly, that his mother showed a preference for her own 
sons over him. He did not like this brother and had man- 
aged to get the upper hand of him as a small child in spite 
of the difference in their ages. This was partly due to 
David's masochistic attitude, partly to his own great mental 
superiority over him. He vented his sadistic impulses to- 
wards the 'bad' penis upon this brother, with whom he had 
also had sexual relations in early childhood, 1 and at the 
same time he regarded him as the dangerous mother in 
whom were contained his father's penises. His brothers, it 
will be seen, were substitutes for both parent-imagos and 
it was towards them that he activated his relations to those 
imagos; for whereas he was devoted to his mother in real 
life and loved her much more than his father, he was pos- 
sessed in phantasy, as we know, by imagos of the magical 
*good' penis (his father) and of the terrifying mother. He 
never got to like David even in later life, and this was 
partly because, as analysis showed, he felt so very guilty 
towards him. 

While, therefore, a number of factors were present to 

encourage B 's adoption of a homosexual attitude, a 

number of other external ones were already very early 
working against his establishment of a heterosexual posi- 
tion. His mother was very fond of him, but he soon found 
out that she was not really loving towards his father and 
had an aversion to the male genital in general. He was 
most likely right in his impression that she was frigid and 
disapproved of his own sexual desires, and her very marked 
love of order and cleanliness gave the same effect. The 

i B *s sexual relations with his brothers were discontinued after the first 

period of childhood; nor had he any conscious recollection of them. On the 
other hand, he remembered quite clearly and in great detail having tormented 
his brother David very much, and this cruel behaviour was closely related, as 
analysis showed, with the sexual activities he had forgotten about. 


nurses he had had as a small child were also antipathetic 
towards anything that was sexual or instinctual. (The 
reader will remember his nurse's answer that *in front' was 
worse than 'behind*.) Another thing which made against 
the establishment of a heterosexual position was his having 
had no girl playmates in early childhood. There is no 
doubt that his fear of the mysterious interior of the woman's 
body would have been greatly lessened had he been brought 
up with a sister, for then he would have satisfied his sexual 
curiosity concerning the female genitals much earlier. 
As it was, it was not until he was about twenty years old 
that, on looking at a picture of a naked woman, he first 
consciously realized in what respect the female body dif- 
fered from the male. It turned out in analysis that the 
voluminous and spreading skirts which women wore at 
that time increased a thousandfold his idea of the huge, 
unknowable and perilous interior of their bodies. Hi$ 
'ignorance* about these matters an ignorance which 
sprang from his anxiety but which had been encouraged 
by the external factors described above had helped to 
make him reject the female as a sexual object. 

In my description of the development of the male in- 
dividual I have shown that the centring of his sadistic 
omnipotence in his penis is an important step in the estab- 
lishment of a heterosexual position, and that in order to 
effect such a step his ego must have acquired sufficient 
capacity to tolerate his sadism and anxiety in earlier stages 

of his development. In B this capacity was small. His 

belief in the omnipotence of his excrements was stronger 
than is usual in boys. 1 His genital impulses and his feelings 
of guilt, on the other hand, had come to the fore very early 
and had soon brought with them a good relationship to his 
objects and a satisfactory adaptation to reality. His pre- 
maturely strengthened ego had in consequence undertaken 
a violent repression of his sadistic impulses, especially those 

1 For the same reason he had fairly strong feminine characteristics and his 
sublimations were of a predominantly feminine cast. This point will receive 
notice later on. 


directed to his mother, so that these could not get into 
sufficient contact with his real objects and remained for the 
most part again, most of all as far as his mother was 
concerned attached to his phantastic imagos. 1 The result 
of this was that side by side with the good relation he had 
to his objects of both sexes there still went a profound and 
dominating fear of their bad and phantastic imagos, and 
these two attitudes towards his objects ran a parallel but 
separate course without really impinging upon one an- 
other at any point. 

Not only could B not, for the above reasons, em- 
ploy his penis as the executive organ of his sadism against 
his mother; he could not give effect to his desires to re- 
store her by means of his 'good* penis in the sexual act.* 
As regards his father's penis his sadism was much less 
strongly repressed. Nevertheless, he could not give suffi- 
cient effect to his direct Oedipus tendencies because the 
factors discussed above worked too powerfully against the 
attainment of a heterosexual position. His hatred of his 
father's penis could thus not be modified in a normal way. 
It had to be in part over-compensated by a belief in the 
'good' penis, and this formed the basis of his homosexual 

In the course of his flight from all that was anal and all 
that had to do with the inside of the body, and assisted by 
his very strong oral-sucking fixation on the penis and by 

the factors already described, B had very early in life 

developed a great admiration for the penis of other boys 
an admiration which in certain instances amounted almost 
to worship. But analysis showed that in consequence of his 
intense repression of anal matters the penis had taken on 
anal qualities in a high degree. He thought of his own 

i B * s unsuccessful super-ego formation (i.e. the overstrong action of his 

earliest anxiety-formations) had not only led to severe disorders in his mental 
health, to an impairment of his sexual development and to an inhibition of his 
capacity to work, but was the reason why his object-relationships, while in them- 
selves good, were at times subjected to grave disturbances. 

1 In the foregoing chapter mention has been made of one or two factors which 
enable the individual of either sex to restore his or her object by means of the 
sexual act. 


penis as inferior and ugly (as 'dirty' through and through, 
it came out), and his admiration for the penis of other men 
and boys was subject to certain conditions. A penis which 
did not fulfil these conditions was repulsive to him, for it 
then took on all the characteristics of his father's dangerous 
penis and of 'bad' pieces of stool. In spite of this limitation, 
however, he had attained a fairly stable homosexual posi- 
tion. He had no conscious sense of guilt or inferiority 
about his homosexual activities, for in them his restitutive 
tendencies, which had not been able to come out in the 
heterosexual position, unfolded their capacity to the full. 

B 's erotic life was dominated by two types of ob- 
ject. The first, to which he had turned again and again ever 
since his schooldays, consisted of boys, and later on men, 
who were not attractive and who felt, with reason, that they 
were unpopular. This type answered to his brother David, 

B got no pleasure from having sexual relations with 

persons of this type because his sadistic impulses came 
into play too powerfully, and he was himself aware that he 
used to make the other feel his superiority and torment 
him in all sorts of ways. At the same time, however, he 
would be a good friend to him and would exert a favour- 
able mental influence on him and help him in every way. 
The second type answered to his other brother, Leslie. He 
used to fall very deeply in love with this kind of person and 
would have a real adoration for his penis. 1 

Both types served to gratify B - 's restitutive tend- 
encies and to allay his anxiety. In his relations to the 
first type, copulating meant restoring his father's and his 
brother David's penis, which, on account of his powerful 
sadistic impulses against them, he imagined he had de- 
stroyed. At the same time he identified himself with his 
inferior and castrated object, so that his hatred of the ob- 
ject was also directed towards himself, and his restitution 
of the penis of that object implied a restitution of his own 

1 On one occasion he had an affair with a. third type of person who corre- 
sponded to his father. It happened against his will, but he could not avoid it and 
it aroused great anxiety in him. 


penis. But in the last analysis his restitutive tendencies to- 
wards the penis served the purpose of restoring his mother; 
for it transpired that his having castrated his father and 
brother meant having attacked the children inside his 
mother and that he felt deeply guilty towards her on 
account of this. In restoring his father's and his brother's 
penis he was endeavouring to give his mother back an un- 
hurt father, unhurt children and an unhurt inside. The 
restoration of his own penis meant, furthermore, that he 
had a 'good' penis and could give his mother sexual 

j n 's relations to the Leslie type his desires to 

make restitution came less into prominence, for in this case 
he was concerned with the 'perfect* penis. This 'perfect' 
penis, which was the object of his intense admiration, stood 
for a whole number of magical counter-proofs against all 
his fears. And since he identified himself with his loved 
object in this case as well, the other's possession of a 'per- 
fect* penis was a proof that his own penis was 'perfect* too; 
and it also showed that his father's penis and his brother's 
were intact and strengthened his belief in the 'good* penis 
in general and thus in the unharmed state of his mother's 
body. In this relation to the admired penis, too, his sad- 
istic impulses found an outlet, though an unconscious one; 
for here as well his homosexual activities signified a castra- 
tion of his. loved object, partly on account of his jealousy 
of him and partly because he wanted to get hold of his 
'good* penis so as to be able in all respects to take his 
father's place with his mother. 

Although B 's homosexual position had been estab- 
lished so early and so strongly, and although he consciously 
rejected a heterosexual one, he had always unconsciously 
kept the heterosexual aims in view towards which, as a 
small boy, he had striven so ardently in his imagination. 
To his unconscious his various homosexual activities re- 
presented so many bypaths leading to a heterosexual goal. 

The standards imposed by his super-ego upon his sexual 
activities were very high. In copulation he had to make 


S>od every single thing he had destroyed inside his mother, 
is work of restoration began, for the reasons we have 
seen, with the penis, and there, too, it ended. It was as 
though a person wanted to put up a particularly fine house 
but was filled with doubts as to whether he had well and 
truly laid the foundations. He would keep on trying to 
make those foundations more solid and would never be 
able to get to work on the rest of the building, 

Thus B 's belief in his ability to restore the penis 

was the foundation of his mental stability, and when that 
belief was shattered he fell ill. This was what happened : 
Some years before, his beloved brother Leslie had lost 
his life on a journey of exploration. Although his death 

had affected B very deeply it had not upset his mental 

health. He was able to bear the blow because it did not 
arouse his sense of guilt or undermine his belief in his 
constructive omnipotence to any great extent. Leslie had 
been for him the possessor of the magical *good* penis, and 

he, B , could transfer his belief in him and love of him 

on to someone else as a substitute. But now his brother 

David fell ill. B devoted himself to him during his 

illness and hoped to effect his cure by the exertion of a 
strong and favourable influence upon him. But his hopes 
were cheated and David died. It was this blow that shat- 
tered him and brought on his illness. Analysis showed 
that this second blow had hit him much harder than the 
first because he had a strong sense of guilt towards his 
eldest brother. Above all, his belief that he could restore 
the damaged penis had been undermined. This meant that 
he had to abandon hope about all the things which in his 
unconscious he was endeavouring to restore in the last 
resort his mother and his own body. The severe inhibition 
in his work that overtook him was another consequence of 
his loss of hope. 

We have seen why it was that his mother could not 
become the object of his restitutive tendencies, as carried 
out by copulation, and therefore could not be a sexual 
object for him. She could only be the object of his tender 


emotions. But even so his anxiety and sense of guilt 
were too great; and not only were his object-relations 
exposed to severe disturbances, but his sublimatory tend- 
encies were much impeded. It turned out that B , 

who was consciously a good deal preoccupied about his 
mother's health although, as he said himself, she was not 
exactly an invalid, but 'delicate' was in his- unconscious 
a complete slave to this preoccupation. He gave expression 
to it in the transference-situation by being in continual 
fear, just before his analysis broke off for the holidays 
(and, as it turned out later, before every week-end, and 
even between one day and the next), that he would never 
see me again, as some fatal accident might have overtaken 
me in the meantime. This phantasy, which recurred again 
and again with all sorts of variations, had the same main 
theme running through it that I should be knocked down 
and run over by a motor-car in a crowded street. This 
street was in fact a street in his home town in America and 
played a great part in his childhood memories. When he 
used to go out with his nurse he had always crossed it in 
the fear as analysis showed that he would never see his 
mother again. Whenever he was in a state of deep depres- 
sion he used to say in his analysis that things could never 
be 'right again' and he would never be able to work any 
more unless certain things which had happened in the 
world since he was a small child could be made not to have 
happened as, for instance, that all the traffic which had 
passed along that street should not have passed along it. 
To him, as to the children whose analyses I have reported 
in an earlier part of this book, the movement of cars repre- 
sented the act of copulation between his parents, which in 
his masturbation phantasies he had transformed into an 
act fatal to both parties, so that he became a prey to the 
fear that his mother and (because of his introjection of the 
'bad' penis and of his combined parents) he himself would 
be wrecked by his father's dangerous penis incorporated 
within her. Hence his manifest fear that she and he would 
be run over by a car. In contrast to his native town, which 


he thought of as a dark, lifeless and ruined place in spite 
of the fact or because of the fact, as his analysis showed 
that there was a lot of traffic there (i.e. continual copulation 
between his father and mother), he pictured an imaginary 
city full of life, light and beauty, 1 and sometimes found 
his vision realized, though only for a short time, in the 
cities he visited in other countries. This far-off visionary 
city represented his mother once more made whole and 
reawakened to a new life, and also his own restored body. 
But the excess of his anxiety made him feel that a restora- 
tion of this kind could not be accomplished, and this, too, 
was the cause of his inhibition in work. 

During the time when B was still able to work 

he was engaged in writing a book in which he set 
down the results of his scientific researches. This book, 
which he had to give up writing when his inhibition in 
work grew too strong, had the same meaning for him as 
the beautiful city. Each separate bit of information, each 
single sentence, denoted his father's restored penis and 
unharmed children, and the book itself represented his 
unimpaired mother ajnd his own restored body. It emerged 
in analysis that it was his fear of the 'bad' content of his 
own body which was the principal hindrance to his creative 
powers. One of his hypochondriacal symptoms was a feel- 
ing of immense emptiness inside. On the intellectual plane 
it took the form of a complaint that things that were valu- 
able and beautiful and interesting to him lost their value 
and were 'worn out' and taken away from him in some way. 
The deepest cause of this complaint turned out to be his 
fear that in ejecting his bad imagos and dangerous excre- 
ments he might have lost those contents of his body which 
were 'good' and 'beautiful'. 

The most powerful motive force of his creative work 
came from his feminine position. In his unconscious a 
certain condition was imposed: not unless his body was 

1 Here again every detail of his beautiful make-believe city pictured a restora- 
tion and further beautification and perfection of his mother's body and his own, 
which, as he imagined, had suffered damage and destruction. 


filled with good objects actually with beautiful children 1 
could he create, i.e. bring children into the world. In 
order to obey this condition he had to get rid of the 'bad* 
objects inside him (but then he felt empty); or else he had 
to turn them into 'good' ones, just as he wanted to turn his 
father's penis and his brother's into 'good' penises. If he 
had been able to do this he would have gained the assur- 
ance that his mother's body and her children and his 
father's penis were all restored too; then his father and 
mother would have been able to live together in amity and 
to give each other complete sexual satisfaction, and he 
himself, in identification with his 'good' father, could have 
given his mother children and could have consolidated his 
heterosexual position. 

When my patient once more took up his book, after 
an analysis of fourteen months' duration, his identification 
with his mother came to the fore very clearly. It showed 
itself in the transference-situation in phantasies of being 
my daughter. He remembered that when he was a small 
boy he longed to be a girl, because he would then have been 
able to love his mother in a sexual way. For he would not 
have had to be afraid of hurting her with his penis, which 
was hateful to her and which he himself felt to be dan- 
gerous. 2 But in spite of his identification with his mother 
and his markedly feminine characteristics^-characteristics 
which came out in his book as well he had not been able 
to maintain the feminine position. This was a great 
stumbling-block in the way of his creative activities, which 
had always to some extent been inhibited. 

As his identification with his mother and his desire to 

1 In the last chapter we have seen that the girl's belief in the omnipotence of 
excrements is more strongly developed than the boy's and that this factor has a 
specific influence on the character of her sublimations. I have shown the current 
of sublimation which flows from the *bad" and ugly piece of stool to the 'beautiful* 

child. B *s belief in the omnipotence of his penis as the executive organ of 

'sadism was not adequately effective and his belief in the omnipotence of excre- 
ments was relatively stronger; consequently his sublimations were of a distinctly 
feminine type. 

* B recollected having repeatedly tried as a small boy to squeeze his penis 

between his thighs so as to make it vanish from view. 


be a woman became more prominent in his analysis his 
inhibition in work gradually diminished. His wish to have 
children and, concurrently, his creative capacities had been 
checked by his fear of his internalized objects in the 
first instance. For his fear of his mother as a rival was 
directed first and foremost towards his internalized 'bad* 
mother who was united with his father. It was to those 
internalized objects, too, that his intense fear of being 
watched and observed referred. He had, as it were, to 
preserve every thought from them, for each thought repre- 
sented a 'good' bit inside him a child. 1 For this reason 
he would commit his thoughts to paper as rapidly as 
possible so as to protect them from the 'bad' objects which 
would get in his way in writing. He had to undertake a 
separation of 'good' objects from 'bad' ones inside his 
body and also to transform the 'bad' ones into 'good* ones. 
His work in writing his book and the whole process of 
mental production entailed by it were likened in his un- 
conscious to restoring the inside of his body and creating 
children. These children were to be his mother's, and he 
restored his 'good' mother within himself by filling her 
with beautiful restored children and by carefully trying 
to preserve those re-created objects from the 'bad' objects 
inside him, which were his parents combined in copulation 
and his father's 'bad' penis. In this way he made his own 
body sound and beautiful as well, because his 'good*, 
beautiful and unimpaired mother would in her turn protect 
him from the 'bad' objects inside him. With this 'good' 

restored mother B was able also to identify himself. 2 

The beautiful children (thoughts, knowledge) with which, 
in his imagination, he peopled his inside were the children 

1 His fear of his bad images, which made him endeavour to deny and subdue 
his unconscious to a more than ordinary degree, had a great deal to do with the 
inhibition of his productive powers. He could never abandon himself completely 
to his unconscious, and so an important source of creative energy was closed 
to him. 

4 The 'pure' and 'untouched' woman is the mother who has not been sullied 
or destroyed by the father's penis and by his dangerous excrements and who can 
therefore give her lover *good, healing and pure* substances out of her own 
intact body. 


which he had conceived in identification with his mother 
as well as the children which he had begot on her as the 
'good* mother that is, the mother who gave him milk 
and thus helped him to get a sound and potent penis. And 
it was not until he was able to adopt and sublimate this 
feminine position that his masculine components became 
more effective and fruitful in his work. 

In proportion as his belief in his 'good' mother grew 
stronger and his paranoid and hypochondriacal anxiety and 

also his depressions became less intense, B became 

increasingly able to carry on his work, at first showing 
every sign of anxiety and compulsion but later doing it 
with much greater ease. Hand in hand with this there went 
a steady diminution of his homosexual symptoms. His 
adoration of the penis grew less and his fear of the 'bad' 
penis, which had hitherto been overlaid by his admiration 
for the 'good' (the beautiful) penis, came to light. In this 
phase we became acquainted with a particular fear, namely, 
that' his father's 'bad' internalized penis had got possession 
of his own by thrusting its way inside it and controlling it 

from within. 1 B felt that he had thus lost command 

over his own penis and could not use it in a 'good* and 
productive way* This fear had come up very strongly when 
he was in the age of puberty. At that time he was trying 
with all his might to keep himself from masturbating. In 
consequence he was having nocturnal emissions. This 
started a fear in him that he could not control his penis 
and that it was possessed by the devil. He also thought 

1 In my analyses of male patients of all ages I have more than once come across 
this special danger-situation in which the father's 'bad* penis fills up the subjects 
own penis from within and thus takes complete possession of it. For instance, a 
small patient of mine once put a pencil with a penal-cap into the fire. He wanted to 
burn out of the pencil-cap something 'bad', something strong and hard, that was 
contained in it. The pencil-cap represented his own penis and the 'bad' thing 
(the pencil itself) that had to be burnt out of it was his father's penis. On another 
occasion he put a bit of wood in the fire and at the same time sharpened his 
pencil, explaining that he did this so that the 'bad* wood should burn better. 
It turned out that in his imagination the bit of wood and the pencil belonged 
together and stuck into each other and fought with one another. Upon being 
analysed, this danger-situation sets free anxiety of a specially intense kind and 
it is, I think, a serious obstacle to sexual potency in the man. 


that it was because it was possessed by the devil that it 
could change its size and become larger or smaller, and 
he attributed all the changes it underwent in connection 
with his development to the same cause. 

This fear had greatly contributed to his dislike of his 
own penis and to his feeling that it was inferior, in the 
sense of being anal, 'bad' and destructive. There arose in 
connection with it an important impediment, too, to his 
adoption of a heterosexual position. Since he must suppose 
that his father's 'bad* penis would always be present while 
he had coitus with his mother and would force him to 
commit bad actions, he was obliged to keep away from 
women. It now became evident that the excessive emphasis 
he had put upon his penis as the representative of the 
conscious and what was visible and his manifold repression 
and denial of the existence of the interior of his body had 
failed in this point as well. As soon as this set of fears had 

been analysed, B 's capacity for work was still further 

increased and his heterosexual position fortified. 

At this point in the progress of his analysis my patient 
had to stop coming to me for some time as he was obliged 
to go back to America to settle his affairs ; but he intended 
to return for further treatment. Up to this point his 
analysis had occupied 380 hours and lasted about two 
years. The results so far were that his deep depressions 
and his inhibition in work had been almost completely 
removed and his obsessional symptoms and anxiety, both 
of the paranoid and hypochondriacal variety, considerably 
diminished. These results justify us, I think, in believing 
that a further period of treatment will enable him fully to 
establish a heterosexual position. But in order to bring this 
about it is clear from the analysis that has already been 
done that his fear of his unrealistic mother-imago will have 
to be still further reduced, so that his real objects and his 
imaginary ones, so widely separated in his mind, may come 
closer together, and his growing belief in his 'good' 
restored mother and in his possession of a 'good' penis, 
which has up till now for the most part been directed 


towards his internalized mother and helped to remove his 
inhibition in work, may have its full effect upon his rela- 
tions to women as sexual objects. Furthermore, his fear 
of his father's 'bad' penis must be still further reduced 
so as to strengthen his identification with his 'good* 

In the case under discussion it will be seen that the 
factors upon whose stronger operation depends the patient's 
complete change from homosexuality to heterosexuality 
are the same factors as those whose presence has been 
mentioned in the first part of this chapter as a necessary 
condition for the firm establishment of a heterosexual 
position. In tracing the development of the normal male 
individual I pointed out there that the foundation of it was 
the supremacy of the good mother-imago which assists the 
boy to overcome his sadism and works against all his vari- 
ous anxieties. As in the case of his fears on this head, the 
boy's desire to restore his mother's body and his desire to 
restore his own interact, the fulfilment of the one being 
essential to the fulfilment of the other. In the genital stage 
they are a pre-condition for his attainment of sexual potency. 
An adequate belief in the 'good' contents of his body which 
oppose and neutralize its 'bad' contents and excrement 
seems to be necessary in order that his penis, as the repre- 
sentative of his body as a whole, shall produce 'good' and 
beneficent semen. This belief, which coincides with his 
belief in his capacity to love, depends upon his having 
sufficient belief in his 'good' imagos, especially in his 
'good' mother and in her unimpaired and beneficent 

When he has attained the full genital level the male 
individual returns in copulation to his original source of 
gratification, his bountiful mother, who now gives him 
genital pleasure as well; and, partly as a return gift, partly 
as a reparation for all the attacks he has made on her from 
the time he did injury to her breast, he gives her his 
'beneficent' semen which shall endow her with children, 
restore her body and afford her oral gratification as well. 


The anxiety and sense of guilt that are still present in him 
have increased and deepened and lent shape to his primary 
libidinal impulses as an infant at the breast, giving his 
attitude towards his object all that wealth and fulness of 
feeling which we call love. 



IN regard to the adult the function of Psycho-Analysis 
is clear. It is to correct the unsuccessful course which 
his psychological development has taken. In order to 
do this it must aim at harmonizing his id with the require- 
ments of his super-ego. In effecting an adjustment of this 
kind it will also put his now strengthened ego in a position 
to satisfy the requirements of reality as well. 

But what about children? How does analysis affect a 
life which is still in the process of development? In the 
first place, analysis resolves the sadistic fixations of the 
child and thus decreases the severity of its super-ego, at the 
same time lessening its anxiety and the pressure of its 
instinctual desires; and, as its sexual life and super-ego 
both mount to a higher stage of development its ego ex- 
pands and becomes able to reconcile the requirements of 
its super-ego with those of reality as well, so that its new 
sublimations are more solidly founded and its old ones 
shed their spasmodic and obsessive character. 

At the age of puberty the child's detachment from its 
objects, which should go along with a heightening of its 
internal standards, can only take effect if its anxiety and 
sense of guilt do not overstep certain limits. Otherwise its 
behaviour will have the character of flight rather than of 
genuine detachment; or it will be unable to get away at all 
and will remain for ever fixated to its original objects. 

If the child's development is to have a satisfactory out- 

369 2 A 


come the severity of its super-ego must become mitigated. 
Greatly as the standards proper to each age may differ from 
one another, the attainment of them depends in each case 
upon the same fundamental condition, namely, upon an 
adjustment between the super-ego and the id and the 
consequent establishment of an adequately strong ego. 
Analysis, in helping to effect an adjustment of this kind, 
follows and supports the child's natural line of growth at 
every stage of its development. At the same time it regu- 
lates the child's sexual activities. By lessening the child's 
anxiety and feelings of guilt it restricts those activities in 
so far as they are compulsive and promotes them in so far 
as they have led to a fear of touching. In thus affecting 
the factors that underlie a faulty development as a whole, 
analysis also enables the child freely to unfold the begin- 
nings of its sexual life and personality. 

In these pages I have endeavoured to show that the 
further analysis penetrates into the underlying strata of 
the mind the more the pressure of the super-ego is relieved. 
But we must ask ourselves whether it is not possible that 
a deep-going analytic procedure of this kind may not 
greatly diminish the function of the super-ego or even 
abolish it altogether. We have seen that libido, super-ego 
and object-relationship interact in their development, and 
that the libidinal and destructive impulses, besides being 
fused together exert a reciprocal action upon each other; 
and we have also seen that when anxiety is aroused as a 
result of sadism the demands of those two sets of impulses 
are heightened. 1 Thus the anxiety which emanates from 
the earliest danger-situations not only exerts a great influ- 
ence upon the libidinal fixation-points and sexual experi- 
ences of the child, but is actually bound up with them and 
has itself become an element of those libidinal fixations. 

Psycho-analytic experience has shown that even a very 
thoroughgoing treatment will only lessen the strength of 

1 Whereas a certain modicum of anxiety in the child increases its need for 
love and forms its capacity for loving, excess of anxiety has a paralysing effect 
on them. 


the child's pre-genital fixation-points and sadism, never 
remove them altogether. Only a portion of its pre-genital 
libido can be converted into genital libido. This familiar 
fact is equally true, in my opinion, of the super-ego. The 
anxiety which the child has as a result of its destructive 
impulses and which answers both in quantity and quality 
to its sadistic phantasies, merges with its fear of danger- 
ous internalized objects, 1 and leads to definite anxiety- 
situations ; and these anxiety-situations are attached to its 
pre-genital impulses, and, as I have endeavoured to show, 
can never be entirely done away with. Analysis can only 
weaken their power, in so far as it reduces the child's 
sadism and anxiety. Hence it follows that the super-ego 
belonging to the early stages of childhood never completely 
relinquishes its functions. All that analysis can do is to 
relax the pre-genital fixations and diminish anxiety and 
thus assist the super-ego to move forward from pre-genital 
stages to the genital stage. Every advance made in the 
reduction of the severity of the super-ego means that the 
libidinal impulses have gained power in relation to the de- 
structive ones and that the libido has attained the genital 
stage in a fuller measure. 

I should like for a moment to consider the factors that 
bring on psycho-neurotic illness. I shall not discuss those 
very numerous cases in which the illness has gone back to 
the early childhood of the individual, sometimes changing 
its features in the course of his life, sometimes keeping 
to its original character, but shall confine myself to those 
cases in which the outbreak of the illness has apparently 
dated from a particular moment in his life. Here, too, 
analysis shows that the illness was there already in a latent 
form, but that, as a result of certain events, it entered upon 
an acute stage which made it an illness from a practical 
point of view. One way in which this can happen is that 
the individual may meet with events in his life which 
confirm his predominating early anxiety-situations to such 
an extent that the quantity of anxiety present in him rises to 

i Cf. Chapter VIII. 


a pitch which his ego cannot tolerate and becomes manifest 
as an illness. Or, again, external events of an unfavourable 
kind may receive pathological significance for him by 
causing disturbances in the process of mastering anxiety, 
with the result that his ego is left helplessly exposed to 
the excessive pressure of anxiety. In this way, by shaking 
his belief in his helpful imagos and in his own constructive 
capacities and thus obstructing his means of mastering 
anxiety, some disappointment, quite slight in itself, can 
start an illness in him quite as well as an event which con- 
firms his early fears in reality and increases his anxiety. 
These two factors go hand in hand to a certain extent; and 
any occurrence which acts in both ways at once is specially 
calculated to bring on mental illness. 1 

It will be seen from what has been said that the child's 
early anxiety-situations are the basis of all psycho-neurotic 
affections. And since, as we know, analysis can never stop 
the operation of those situations altogether, either in the 
treatment of adults or children, it cannot ever effect a com- 
plete cure nor entirely exclude the possibility that the 
individual will succumb to a psychological illness at some 
later date. But what it can do is to bring about a relative 
cure and so greatly lessen the chances of a future illness. 
And this is of the greatest practical importance. The more 
analysis can do in the way of reducing the force of the 
child's early anxiety-situations and of fortifying its ego 
and the methods employed by its ego in mastering anxiety, 
the more successful will it be as a prophylactic measure. 

Another limitation to which psycho-analysis is subjected 
arises out of the individual variations that exist, even in 
small children, in the mental composition of the individual 

1 In his paper, 'The Problem of Paul Morphy' (1931), Ernest Jones has 
described an instance where the occasion of illness was based on different mechan- 
isms. He has shown that the psychosis to which Morphy, the famous chess- 
player, succumbed had the following causes. His mental balance depended upon 
the fact that in playing chess he was able to express his aggression directed 
towards his father-imagos in an ego-syntonic manner. It so happened that 
the person whom he most wanted to meet as his opponent evaded his challenge 
and behaved in such a way as to arouse his sense of guilt; and this was the exciting 1 
cause of Morphy's illness. 


in question. The extent of his ability to resolve anxiety will 
depend very greatly upon how much anxiety is present, 
what anxiety-situations predominate and which are the 
principal defensive mechanisms which the ego has evolved 
in the early stages of his development in other words, 
upon what the structure of his mental disturbance in child- 
hood has been. 1 

In fairly severe cases I have found it necessary to carry 
on analysis for a long time for children from five to 
thirteen years old, between eighteen and thirty-six work- 
ing months, 2 and for some adults longer still before the 
anxiety had been sufficiently modified, both in quantity 
and quality, for me to feel justified in ending the treatment. 
On the other hand, the disadvantage of such a lengthy 
treatment is fully made up for by the more far-reaching 
and permanent results which a deep analysis achieves. 
And in many cases a much shorter time suffices not more 
than from eight to ten working months to obtain quite 
satisfactory results. 3 

Repeated attention has been drawn in these pages to 
the great possiblities offered by Child Analysis. Analysis 
can do for children, whether normal or neurotic, all that 
it can do for adults, and much more. It can spare the child 
the many miseries and painful experiences which the adult 
goes through before he comes to be analysed; and its 
therapeutic prospects are much brighter. The experience 
of the last few years has given me and other child-analysts 
good grounds for believing that psychoses and psychotic 
traits, malformations of character, asocial behaviour, 4 grave 
obsessional neuroses and inhibitions of development can 
be cured while the individual is still young. When he is 

1 It may be remarked that where intense anxiety and severe symptoms are 
exhibited in analysis the structure of the illness is often more favourable than 
where there are no symptoms at all. 

2 I have had a child-patient whose analysis lasted forty-five working months. 

3 In Chapter V. we have seen how in a number of instances in which treat- 
ment had to be broken off, even a few months* analysis brought about consider- 
able improvement by diminishing- anxiety in the deepest levels of the mind. 

4 Cf. in this connection Melitta Schmideberg's paper, *2ur Psychoanalyse 
asozialer Kinder und Jugendlicher* (1932). 


grown up, these conditions, as we know, are inaccessible or 
only partly accessible to psycho-analytic treatment. What 
course an illness will take in future years often cannot, it 
is true, be foretold in childhood. It is impossible to know 
with certainty whether it will turn into a psychosis, crimi- 
nal malformation of character or severe inhibition. But 
successful analysis of abnormal children will obviate all 
these possibilities. If every child who shows disturbances 
that are at all severe were to be analysed in good time, a 
great number of those people who later end up in prisons 
or lunatic asylums, or who go completely to pieces, would 
be saved from such a fate and be able to develop a normal 
life. If Child Analysis can accomplish a work of this kind 
and there are many indications that it can it would be 
the means not only of helping the individual but of doing 
incalculable service to society as a whole. 


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No alteration in the text of this book has been made since the first 
edition and therefore the bibliography has not been brought up to date. 
Since 1932 the following works by the author have been published: 
WEANING, published in On the Bringing Up of Children, by Five Psycho- 

Analysts, editor John Rickman (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and 

Co. Ltd., 1936). 
LOVE, GUILT AND REPARATION, published in Love, Hate and Reparation, 

Two Lectures by Melanie Klein and Joan Riviere (Institute of 

Psycho- Analysis and Hogarth Press, 1937). 

SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS, contributed to Science and Ethics, 
editor C. H. Waddington (Allen and Unwin, 1942). 

NOTES ON SOME SCHIZOID MECHANISMS, published in the International 
Journal of Psycho-Analysis, vol. xxvii, 1946. 

Contributions to Psycho-Analysts, 19211945 (Institute of Psycho- Analysis 
and Hogarth Press, 1948). 











G u"nther 






9 \ 

Obsessional neurosis 

Infantile neurosis; incon- 
tinence of urine and 

Severe infantile neurosis 
Severe infantile neurosis 

Infantile neurosis; un- 
mistakable psychotic 

Severe infantile neurosis ; 
great educational diffi- 

Severe infantile neurosis 

Obsessional neurosis; 

strong paranoid traits 

Abnormal development 
of character; psychotic 



Obsessional neurosis; 

characterological diffi- 

Incipient schizophrenia 

Abnormal development 
of character ; severe in- 
hibitions and anxiety 


23-28, 29, 47, 60, 
61, 140 n., 161 
n., 162 n., 227 

48, 57-60 
40-46, 48, 49, 90 n. 

166-171, 347 n. 


32, 65-93, in, 
I53n., i8on., 
273 n., 293 n. 

166-171, 353 n. 

95, 98-100, 112 

106-111, 115 n. 
101-105, in 


Name Age Diagnosis Pages 

Ike 12 Schizoid 131-139,172,173 

Willy 14 Normal 123,124,127-129 

Gert 14 Neurotic difficulties 172,173 

Bill 14 Neurotic difficulties 126-127 

B. (Middle Homosexuality; severe 350-367 

thirties) inhibition in work; 

depression; doubting- 
mania; paranoid and 
hypochondriacal ideas 


Note: The following case material was contained in the original German edition, but 
was omitted from the English edition for reasons of discretion. 

A thirty-five-y ear-old homosexual patient (Mr. A ) suffered 

from a very strong obsessional neurosis with paranoid and hypochon- 
driacal traits and a severe disturbance of potency. His analysis showed 
that the distrust and aversion which dominated his relation to women 
in general could ultimately be traced to phantasies that his mother was 
constantly, when out of his sight, united with his father in coitus. He 
supposed that her inside was filled with dangerous paternal penises. 1 
The transference situation revealed that hatred and anxiety in rela- 
tion to his mother, which often covered a sense of guilt concerning 
her, was closely related to the sexual intercourse of the parents. 2 

A fleeting glance at my clothes and my appearance, which at 
moments of anxiety suggested to Mr. A that I was unwell, ill- 
groomed or in some way in a bad condition (meaning that I was 
poisoned and destroyed) could be traced back to the anxious way in 
which he, as a young child, scrutinised his mother in the morning in 
order to find out whether she had been poisoned or destroyed by the 
sexual relation with his father. 

''Owing to this phantasy the mother had acquired the qualities of the paternal penis to 

such an extent and retained her own personality so little that Mr. A unconsciously 

identified her with the paternal penis (consciously represented by a boy). The result of this 
was that, even consciously, the patient had great difficulty in differentiating between the sexes. 

2 Ernest Jones, in 'Fear, Guilt and Hate', Int. J. Psycho-Anal. Vol. X, 1930, reprinted 
as Chapter 14, in Papers on Psycho- Analysis, Fifth Edition, London, 1948, refers to this 



When he was particularly anxious, Mr. A felt that the street 

and my house representing the whole world were dirty. Further, 

Mr. A often identified me with the charwoman, whose job it 

was to clean the staircase, and against whom he had a strong aversion. 
This aversion was partly due to his sense of guilt and anxiety. She 
represented his mother, who, degraded and impoverished through 
his fault, tried to clean her soiled and poisoned inside the house 
but, according to his feelings, was attempting a vain and fruitless task. 
He felt himself responsible for her condition, since in his phantasies he 
had attacked with poisonous excrements the inside of his mother's body 
and his parents united in intercourse. He expected every morning to 
find his mother dead. In this frame of mind he took any change in his 
mother's behaviour or appearance, however insignificant it might be, 
and any difference of opinion between his parents in short, every- 
thing that happened around him as evidence that the catastrophe 
which he had always expected had actually occurred. 

Furthermore, owing to his masturbation phantasies, in which he 
wished the parents to destroy each other in intercourse by various means, 
he felt acute guilt, together with anxiety about being destroyed himself 
in the same ways. 1 This fear led to a tendency to watch his surround- 
ings ceaselessly and it gave rise to an obsessional drive for knowledge. 
His urge to observe the parents in intercourse and to explore their sexual 
secrets, an urge which absorbed all his ego energies, was in part 
stimulated by the desire to prevent his mother from having intercourse 
and thus to preserve her from damage, which the dangerous paternal 
penis would cause her. 2 

These feelings with regard to the parental intercourse showed them- 
selves in the transference situation j for instance, in the great interest that 
Mr* A took in the way I smoked cigarettes. If he noticed that 

x As I am using this case material only to illustrate the point that certain anxiety situa- 
tions are at the root of severe disturbances of sexuality, I shall mention only two external 
factors from a multitude of early impressions and influences which contributed to this 
development: his mother suffered from ill health and his father was a hard and tyrannical 
man, of whom the whole family was afraid. 

^he jealousy of the small child which leads to his wish to disturb the sexual gratifica- 
tions of the parents thus receives a secondary and essential strengthening- through anxiety. 
The child is afraid that the parents (as a result of his sadistic phantasies) will injure or kill 
each other in intercourse j this fear drives him both to watch the parents and to disturb 


there was a cigarette end left in the ashtray from the preceding session, 
or if he thought that there was cigarette smoke in the room, he at once 
questioned whether I smoked a lot or whether I smoked before break- 
fast, or whether I smoked a good brand. These questions and their 
concomitant emotions went back to his anxiety about his mother. They 
were determined by the wish to find out how often, and in which 
way the parents had had intercourse during the night and what effect 
this had had on his mother. These feelings of frustration, jealousy and 

hatred about the primal scene expressed themselves, in Mr. A *s 

emotional response to my lighting a cigarette at moments which ap- 
peared to him inappropriate. He became furious and accused me of 
lack of interest in him 5 I cared only for smoking and did not mind 
disturbing him. Then again he suggested that I should give up smoking 
altogether. But from time to time he waited with impatience for me 
to light a cigarette and almost asked me to do so, because he couldn't 
wait any longer for the noise of the match. He stressed particularly 
that I should not do it suddenly and without preparing him. It became 
clear that this tension repeated the situation when he, as a small child, 
listened at night for noises which came from the parental bedroom. He 
could scarcely wait to hear the first signs of intercourse (the striking of 
the match) in order to be sure that the whole procedure would, at 
some point, come to an end. Sometimes he also wished me to smoke. 
This went back to the time in his childhood when, in his fear that the 
parents were dead, he longed to hear noises indicating that they were 
having intercourse, as proof that they were alive. Later on in the 
analysis, when his anxiety about the consequences of intercourse had 
diminished, his desire that I should smoke had a different determina- 
tion, derived from a later developmental phase when he wished that the 
parents should have intercourse insofar as this stood for a reconciliation 
between them and an act which would satisfy and heal both of them. 
He also wanted to be free from the guilt of having condemned his 
parents to frustration. 

With regard to his own smoking, Mr. A gave it up from 

time to time and hoped that this would cure his hypochondriacal symp- 
toms. He never carried this out for long, since unconsciously smoking 
also meant to him a help against his hypochondriacal anxieties. Smoking 
should, insofar as the cigarettes represented the bad paternal penis, de- 


stroy his internalised bad objects. 1 In so far as the cigarettes represented 
the good paternal penis, it was felt to restore his own inside and those 
of his internalised objects. 

Mr. A 's obsessional symptoms were closely connected with 

these manifold anxieties. They were derived from the well-known use 
of 'magic and counter magic'; 2 they were intended to confirm or dis- 
prove the question as to whether the parents did have intercourse at 
the time or whether certain anticipated dangers had occurred in con- 
nection with the intercourse, or whether this damage could again be 
removed, and so on. His obsessional neurosis in all its aspects was 
built on the destructive and constructive omnipotence originally related 
to the parents' sexual intercourse, and developed and extended to the 
environment in general. 

Mr. A 's sexual activity, which was of an obsessional nature 

and severely disturbed, served the same purpose of proof and counter 
proof. The dread of the father's penis not only interfered with the 
establishment of the heterosexual position, but also interfered with the 
stabilisation of the homosexual position. 

As as result of the strong identification with his mother and the over- 
riding phantasy of having incorporated his parents in intercourse, the 
patient felt that all the dangers which threatened his mother, owing to 
the incorporation of the penis, threatened also his own inside. Simul- 
taneously with the negative transference, Mr. A 's hypochondriacal 

symptoms increased. 3 If for external or internal reasons there was a 
strengthening of the phantasy that his mother was having intercourse 
with his father, and consequently contained the dangerous penis, 
Mr. A 's hatred of me and also his anxiety about his own inside 

J I have the impression that this element could also lead to alcoholism. Alcohol, repre- 
senting the bad penis, or the bad urine, would then serve for the destruction of the bad 
internalised objects. Melitta Schmideberg, in her paper *The Role of Psychotic Mechanisms 
in Cultural Development* (int. J. Psycho-Anal. Vol. X, 1930), suggests that the object to 
which the patient is addicted represents the good penis which offers protection against the 
bad introjected objects. However, it soon takes on the significance of a bad penis and this 
further stimulates the addiction. 

*cf. Freud Totem and Tabu (Standard Edition, Vol. 13). 

"The details of his hypochondriacal symptoms were determined by the structure and de- 
tails of his sadistic phantasies. For instance, I found repeatedly that his burning sensations 
were connected with phantasies of urethral sadistic character. As the urine was to burn the 
object, it also burned his own Inside. Further, in these situations, he ascribed to the 
internalised paternal penis and its urine the activity of burning, poisoning and destroying. 


increased. Everything that indicated the catastrophe to the mother also 
meant, owing to his idenification with her, destruction to his own body. 
He hated his mother for having intercourse with his father, because 
she not only endangered herself, but indirectly him as well, as, in his 
phantasy, the internalised parents had intercourse inside his own body. 

In addition it appeared that his mother was allied with his father 
against him. For instance, his aversion to my voice and my words, 
which at times was very strong, derived from the equation of my words 
with dangerous and poisoning excrements and also from the phantasy 
that his father (or rather his penis) was in me and was speaking 
through my voice. His father influenced my words and actions against 
him in a hostile manner, as well as driving him to hostility against his 
mother. He was afraid that the paternal penis would attack him out 
of my mouth when I spoke. 

When the mother in his mind was destroyed, there was no longer 
a c good' helpful mother. The phantasies in which the mother's breast 
was bitten and torn, poisoned and destroyed with urine and faeces led 
very early to the introjection of a poisonous and dangerous mother 
figure, which interfered with the development of the internal 'good' 
mother. This element also contributed to the development of the para- 
noid traits, particularly the fears of being poisoned and persecuted. 
Neither in the external world (originally in the mother's body) nor in 
his own body was the patient able to find sufficient support against the 
persecutor which was represented by the paternal penis and his internal 
faeces. In this way, not only his fear of the mother and his castration 
anxiety were increased, but he was also unable to experience trust in 
any goodness in his own inside and in his own penis. This contributed 
to the severe disturbance of his sexual development. The anxieties 
about damaging the woman by his 'bad' penis, as well as being unable 
to make reparation to her in intercourse, together with the fear of the 
dangers of the mother's body, were at the basis of Mr. A 's dis- 
turbed potency. 

The fact that his confidence in the c good j mother was not suf- 
ficiently established was of great significance when the patient broke 

down. Mr. A , who, during the war, had fought for some time 

in the front line, tolerated the dangers and other burdens of the war 
relatively well. The severe breakdown occurred some time later on a 


journey. He fell ill with dysentery in a small town. The analysis 
showed that the symptoms of this illness had activated the old anxiety 
situations which were the basis of his hypochondriacal anxieties; the 
fear of the 'bad' internalised penis and its poisonous excrements. The 
decisive element, however, was the behaviour of the landlady on whose 
nursing my patient was dependent for some time. The woman nursed 
him badly, was careless and did not even give him enough food and 
nourishment. This experience reactivated the trauma of weaning with 
all the accompanying emotions of hatred and anxiety. In. addition, the 
attitude of the landlady was taken by Mr. A unconsciously as a 
complete confirmation of his anxiety that there was no 'good' mother, 
and that he was handed over without hope of being rescued to inner 
destruction and to external enemies. Trust in the 'good' mother had 

never been sufficiently established in Mr. A and therefore there 

was nothing to counteract the simultaneous and severe revival of all 
anxiety situations, external and internal. The lack of a helpful good 
mother figure, which might have counteracted these anxieties, was the 
decisive factor for his breakdown. 

I wanted to show, from the case of Mr. A., that the displacement of 
hatred and anxiety from the paternal penis on to the mother greatly 
aggravates the anxieties connected with the female body, and reduces 
the attraction to heterosexuality. This displacement of everything 
frightening and uncanny on to the invisible inside of the woman's 
body is one of the preconditions for the decisive strengthening of the 
homosexual position. 


ABRAHAM, KARL: 84, i25n., 180, 
i8in., 185 n., 186 n., 187, 189 n., 
195, 200, 201, 206 n., 207 n., 213, 
220 n., 231, 239 n., 273, 282 n., 
290 n., 330 

Accumulation: obsessional, 233, 235, 
285, 286 

Achievements: at puberty, 261, 262; 
creative, 362, 363 ; in boy, 256, 261 j in 
girl, 262, 320; in latency period, 255, 
259; unconscious meaning of, 255 

Adaptation: internal, 153; to reality 
apparent, 34, 146, disturbances of, 
76, 146, 151, effected by analysis, 
34, 88, excessive, 97, 132, 150, 151, 
260 n., successful, 33, 34, 152, 208, 
209, 2505 social disturbances of, 
66, 131, 285 n., effected by analysis, 
36, 57 p., 73 n., 86, 104 n., 135, 138 

Adult: difference between neurosis in 
child and in, 150; idiosyncrasies of, 
143; stabilization in, 2515 state, 
transition to, 87, 138 

Affect: absence of, 106, 137, 151; ex- 
pression of, in puberty, 122; out- 
breaks of, in analysis, 89, 90 

Aggression: and early Oedipus con- 
flict, 26, 91, 100, 185, 193; gives 
rise to anxiety and guilt, 25, 26, 
84 n., 135$ 183, 211. (See also De- 
structive impulses and Sadism.) 


Alimentary orgasm: 185 n. 

Ambivalence: 53, 80, 125, 151, 181, 
215, 274 

Amnesia; 38, 172 

Amphimixis: 332 n. 

Anallove-relationship: 74, 78, 79 n., 157 

Anal-sadistic phantasies: 25, 44, 45? 78, 

281, 311, 312, 35'-353 

Anal-sadistic stage: earlier, 187, 199, 
200, 201, 205, 207 n., 217, 226, 228; 
later, 201, 214, 217, 226, 227, 231 

Analysis of children: abstinence in, 

88 n.; abreaction in, 31 n., 32, 89; 
action in, 32, 33, 102, 103, 139; and 
sexual behaviour, 370; attendance of 
third person, during, 53, 1 195 break- 
ing off of, 123, 140; compared to 
adult analysis, 38, 103, 104 ; deep, 58, 
1 39> I 4' 3 7> 3735 direct approach to 
unconscious in, 35, 97, 1145 duration 
of, 3735 in latency period, 94-98 
mixed technique in, 101-106, un- 
usual technique in, 106-1 nj in pub- 
erty, 122-126, 129-131, 141; mono- 
tonous and unimaginative accounts 
in, 1135 necessary training for, 141; 
position of parents in regard to, 1 16- 
1215 principles of, 36, 38, 39, 1035 
putting questions in, 111-113; scope 
of, 370-3745 when completed, 87, 

J 54 155 

Analyst: abstention from educational 
influence on part of, 18 n., 19, 36, 
90, 119, 170, 1715 attitude of, 44 n., 
91$ qualifications of, 139, 141; pro- 
fessional discretion in, 1175 relations 
to parents of, 116-121 

Analytic room: arrangement of, 40, 

89 n., 287 n. 

Analytic situation: 35, 43 n., 44 n.j 
establishment of, 36, 37, 56, 57, 94, 

Anatomical differences between sexes: 
effect of, 282, 287, 319 

Animal phobias: 220-226, 334 

Anxiety (see also Fear): and exclusion 
of reality, 225; and negative trans- 
ference, 485 and obsessive desire to 
know, 231; and reactive formations, 



230; and relations to reality, 206- 
208, 249, 278 n.; as developmental 
factor, 199,^200, 217, 246 n.j as in- 
hibitory factor, 159, 199, 246 n.; 
capacity to tolerate, 83 n., 294, 332, 
356; denial of, 205; increases ag- 
gression, 1 68, 191, 203, 211, 235, 
236, 281, 285, 293; increases episte- 
mophilic instinct, 247, 248, 3325 in- 
creases introjection, 203, 274, 311, 
331; increases libido, 158, 170, 274, 
276, 370; increases projection, 200, 
203, 207, 220, 3 10, 3 1 1 j inhibits pro- 
jection, 204; origin of from ag- 
gression, 25, 26, 84 n,, 2 1 1 ; from un- 
satisfied libido, 181-183; resolution 
of, in analysis, 30, 51, 59, 87, 130, 
139, 140; spreading out of, 206, 2155 
transformation of, into pleasure, 254 

Anxiety-attacks: 37, 53-60; andp&uor 
nocturntiSy 24, 56, 58 n.; prevention 
of, in analysis, 57-59 

Anxiety-object: admiration of, 220; 
fear of, 195, 220, 226, 352; identifi- 
cation with, 84, 168, 293; modifi- 
cation of, 220, 226 

Anxiety - situations (Danger - situa- 
tions): early, 60, 92, 182-185, 189, 
190, 219, 226, 230,. 231, 233, 265, 
269, 275-277, 278 n., 280 n,, 317, 

371, 372, 373; and psychoses, 202, 
204, 207, 218, 232$ influence of 
reality upon, 302, 371; later opera- 
tion of, 266, 334, 371, 372; modifica- 
tion of, 248, 265, 266, 277, 334; of 
the boy, 340, 341, 343 n., 344; f 
the girl, 60, 92, 129, 269, 270, 277, 
280, 284, 287, 306, 317; two cate- 
gories of, 329 

Aphanisis: 269, 277, 317 n. 

Apprehension: 50, 51, 246 

Asocial types: 138, 216, 374 

Associations: verbal, 28, 28 n., 30, 49, 
102, 107, no, in, 141 

Attacks: secret, 190, 205; violent, 190, 

'Bad feeders*: 180 
Bed-wetting (see Incontinence) 
Biting (see Oral sadism) 
Blood: 69, 3i5n. 

Bodily substances: equation between, 
271, 340 n. 

Body: contents of 'bad', 274 n., 284- 
287, 311, 312, 341, 362, 363, 367, 
'good', 284-287, 311, 312, 344, 362, 
363, 367; horror of female, 351, 352; 
interior of and interior of object, 
233> 3*9> 34> 353? 3 6 4> 3 6 5 uncer- 
tainty about, 231, 234, 286, 287, 
353, equated to unconscious, 283, 
341, 345; intactness of, 231, 254, 
262-264, 340; structure of female, 
287, 289, 316, 319; restoration of, 
237, 300 n., 362, 363, 367 

BOEHM, FELIX: 103 n., 189 n., 327 n., 
333 n., 348 

Breast: and penis, 91, 99, 187 n., 210, 
213, 271, 282, 283, 284, 325, 326, 
340 n., 343 n., 354; as combined 
parents, 342; as mother, 84, 208, 283, 
342; likened to harpies, 354; attacks 
on oral-sadistic, 91, 185, 283-314, 
315, 326, urethral-sadistic, 186, 292, 


Brooding: morbid, 66, 101, 104, 146 
Brothers and sisters: arrival of, 24, 54, 

74, 75; relations to, 34, 41, 42, 75, 

98, 155 n. improved by analysis, 
41, 57, 58 n., 127, 171, 172, 173, 
sexual relations between, 49, 127, 
129, 131, 137, 166-175 

BRUNSWICK, R. MACK: 223 n., 225 ji. 
Burning, 63 n., 186, 365 n. 

Castration complex: and restitutive 
tendencies, 294, 295; in female, 47 n., 

99, 129, 130, 270, 271 n., 290-294, 
307, 308; in male, 92, 127, 129, 253, 

2 5 6 > 33*> 333> 334> 34> 34*> 34^ 

352 n., 359 
Ceremonials: 27, 104 n., 143, 144, 227, 


CHAD WICK, MARY: 332 n., 338 n. 
Character-formation: 81, 144, 149, 

167 n., 181, 213 
Child: birth of, 71, 74, 313, 320; 

equated to faeces, 25, 309, 310, 312, 

320; equated to penis, 309, 313, 319; 

equated to small penis, 311, 314 n,; 

relation to own, 72, 81, 253, 263, 


Claustrophobia: 329n. 
Clitoris: 85, 289, 297, 306, 308 n. 


Coitus per anumi 274 
Combined parents: 103, in, 190, 
249 n., 274, 275, 284, 300, 322, 328, 

3*9 334, 342 

Conception: incapacity for, too, 313 

Constipation: 235 

Constitutional factors: 82, 83, 176, 
181, 228, 303 n., 332 n., 343 n. 

Copulating parents: aggression against, 
25, 45, 66, 67, 68, 79, 90 n., 91, 92, 
167, 168, 192, 238, 275, 346; fear of, 
103, 190, 275, 284, 307, 322, 328, 
333, 342, 344; reaction to, 41, 42, 44, 
45> 7 2 > 79 8 4> 1355 representations 
of, 42, 45, 49, 61, 71, 85, 135, 167; 
representatives of, 167 

Copulation: a trots,, 42, 46, 158, 159, 
301; as beneficent act, 300, 337, 3635 
oral, 1 8 8, 269, 324; representations 
of, 49 955 sadistic, 190, 275, 256, 
281, 307, 322, 333, 343, 348, 3615 
unconscious knowledge about, 188 

Counting-Mania: 234 

Criminal behaviour: 167 n., 204, 216, 

374 . 

Cunnilinctus: 172 
Cutting out paper: 29, 63, $8, 92,108, 


Danger-situations (see Anxiety-situa- 

Death-instinct: and life-instinct, 211, 
212, 279; deflection of, 183, 185, 279 

Death- wishes: 48 n., 135, 190, 238, 

Defaecation: and anxiety, 234$ and 
sadism, 25, 44, 192, 236 

Defence: 184, 202, 204, 214, 217, 335; 
and repression, 200, 232, 248 

Defloration: 288 

Dentist: 122 

Depression: 24, 66, 76, 78, 79 n., 81, 
84 n., 127 n., 131, 154, 162, 218, 
286, 350, 362, 366 

Destructive impulses: 46, 108, 261, 
3285 and anxiety, 84 n., 168, 183, 
184, 195, 203, 235, 236, 276, 2775 
and libido, 182, an, 212, 214, 276, 
3705 deflection of, 278, 279, 281. 
(See also Aggression and Sadism.) 

DEUTSCH, HELENE: 57 n., 271 n., 
278 n., 288, 289 n., 291 n., 298, 306, 


Displacement: 'from above down- 
wards', 271 n.; from father's penis 
on to mother's body, 189, 335, 344, 
345? 35 2 frrn mother on to father's 
penis, 187 n., 273, 344-3455 on to 
trifles, 239, 241 

Distrust: as sign of anxiety, 37; as sign 
of negative transference, 50; in lat- 
ency period, 94 

Doubt: and anxiety, 231, 234, 286, 
287; and obsession, 231, 241, 286, 

Doubting-mania: 250 

Drawing: obsessive, 108, 113, 114, 
115, 125, 131, 133 

Dreams: 34, 49, 102 5 of neurotics, 246; 
resemblance to play, 29, 30, 43, 156, 

Early analysis: 3 1 n., 34; as basis of 
Child analysis, 138, 139; technique 
of, 35' 37> 46 

Eating: disturbances in, 142, 143, 180, 

Education: difficulties in, 58 n., 72, 77, 
82, 83, 101, 104, 131-1355 and char- 
acterological difficulties, 143, 144, 
149; lessened by analysis, 24 n., 34, 
36, 41, 57 n., 101 n., 104 n., 135, 

Educational measures: abstention from 
in analysis, i8n., 19, 36, 90, 119, 
132 n,, 140, 171 

Ego: and anxiety, 181-183, 372; and 
destructive impulse, 1835 and identi- 
fications, 318, 319, 322; capacity of, 
to tolerate anxiety, 83 n., 264, 294, 
332, 356, sadism, 356; in latency 
period, 1 8, 97, 199, 256 n.; in small 
children, 1995 role of, in analysis, 
1 8, 97, 114; strengthening of, by 
analysis, 19, 35, 36, 136, 369 

Ego-development: affects super-ego, 
252; and anxiety, 199, 248-265; and 
restitutive tendencies, 247, 248, 265, 
300; and sense of omnipotence, 265, 
300, 318, 341,- in girl, 262-267, 315- 
3255 precocity of, 82, 83 n. 

Ejection (see Projection) 

Emptiness: feeling of, 185 n v 235, 362, 


Enemas: 323 
Enuresis (see Incontinence) 




Environment and neurosis: 24 n,, 3 5 n., 

120, 258 n. 
Envy: 56, 70, 71, 79, 84, 91, 131* *35> 

136, 188, 269, 272, 284, 291, 324, 

Epistemophilic instinct: and anxiety, 
96, 248, 332; and mother's body, 
208, 247, 322, 3335 ^d sadism, 93, 
100, 189, 241, 242, 243; and sense 
of guilt, 96; and sexual activity, 332; 
disturbances of, 99, 100, 109, 127 n., 
133, 146, 148, 152, 242, 243; growth 
of, 114, 115, 247, 338 n.; obsessive, 
152, 153, 231; normal activity of, 
153; early beginnings of, 99 n., 242, 
243; in boy, 338 n. 

Erection: 330 

Excrements: and menstruation, 307; as 
child, 309-312; as penis, 70, 78 n., 
205 n., 343, 351, 352; as persecutors, 
78 n., 205 n.; as vermin, 78, 347 n.; 
attacks by means of, 78, 79, 92, 190, 
205-207, 236, 281, 282, 311, 347, 
353; equated to other substances, 
220; fear of own, 206, 230, 312, 
347; harmful, 190, 205, 312, 319, 
320, 329, 351; in love-relationship, 
^9 74 78, 79 n.; omnipotence of, 
281-283, 293, 318, 319, 330, 356; 
sublimation of, 312 

Exhibitionism: 43, 101 

External factors: 180, 181, 302-306, 
316, 370, 372 

External world (see Reality) 

Faeces (see Excrements) 

Fairies: 2i9n. 

Fairy mother: 249 n. 

Father: as instrument of coition, 80, 
273 n.; as super-ego, 196, 197; atti- 
tude to, based on attitude to mother, 
325, 343 n.; fear of, 103, 157, 
162, 196 n., 221-224, 253, 307, 
334; identification of girl with, 
99, 100, 290-296; primal, the, 
196, 2 ion.; relations to, improved 
by analysis, 57 n., 80; represented 
by penis, 84, 104, 189, 273, 298, 


Father-imago: as penis, 104, 273; as 
shop-assistant, 134; as wolf, 223; 
division of, 124, 261, 303; early, 195, 
273; harmony between, and mother- 

imago, 322; good, based on good 
mother-imago, 213, 321 

Father Christmas: 219 n. 

Fear (see also Anxiety and Anxiety- 
situations): of anal attacks, 248; of 
attacks by mother, 48, 57, 60, 71, 
77, 92, 103, 130, 248, 269, 287, 307; 
of being abandoned, 57, 60, 135, 248, 
253, 26 3; of being devoured, 223, 323; 
of being observed (see Paranoia); of 
being poisoned, 79 n., 140 n., 220, 
347; of being suffocated, 292 n., 353 
n.; of burglars and robbers, 65, 84, 
293 n.; of combined parents (see 
Combined parents); of death, 128; 
of father (see Castration complex); 
of father's penis inside own penis, 
365; of fish, 21 in.; of inanimate 
things, 143; of introjected object 
(see Introjected object); of loss of 
love, 60, 193, 248, 263 n., 317 n.; of 
mother's death, 57, 60, 248, 361; of 
own aggression, 105, 183, 259; of 
own excrements, 206, 230, 347, 353; 
of phantastic figures, 219; of 
strangers, 53, 143; of streets, 143; of 
telephone, 143; of travelling, 143 

FEDERN, PAUL: 330 n. 

Fellatio: 49, 144, 167, 172, 274, 281, 
292 n., 354 

Feminine position: exaggeration of, in 
girl, 130; in boy, 156, 255 n., 291, 
326-327, 328, 338, 362; in girl, 9! 


FENICHEL, OTTO: 96 n., 192 n., 19! 
199, 205 n., 216 n. 

FERENCZI, SANDOR: 134 n., 165 n., 
205 n., 208 n., 215 n., 230 n., 239 n., 
281 n., 312 n., 332 n., 349 n. 

Festivals: significance of, 147 

Finger-nails as weapons of attack: i87> 

Fixation: on mother, 24, 26, 40, 53, 57, 
58 n., 66, 80, 132, 136, 137, 248, 249 
n., 285; pre-genital, 157, 159, 160, 
1 80, 227, 248, 326, 369; reinforce- 
ment of, 171, 173, 236, 248, 370; 
resolution of, 38, 43, 79, 173, 371 

Fixation points: 201, 207, 217, 218, 
370, 37i 

Flatus: 281, 282 n., 347 

'Flight to Reality*: 152 n., 170 n. 

Flooding: phantasies of, 186 

INDEX 393 

FLUGEL, J. C.: 134 n., 255 n. 

Food: equated to products of body, 
220; equated to object, 220 

Forced phantasies: 134 


FREUD, SIGMUND: 17, 26 n., 31, 37 n., 
60, 82, 83 n., 84, 149 n., 164, 175, 
181, 183, 184 n., i86n., 188, 194, 
196, 197, 200, 201, 202 n., 203 
n., 210 n., 214 n., 219, 221, 222, 
223 n., 224, 225, 226, 228, 229 
231 n., 237, 238 n., 239, 241, 245, 
246, 247 n., 248, 252 n., 257, 258, 
261, 266, 268, 270, 278, 279, 281 n., 
309, 314 n., 316, 318, 323, 324, 325, 
349 n. 

Frigidity: 165, 280, 289, 297, 302, 305, 

355 . 

Frustration: as punishment, 99, 1475 
incapacity to tolerate, 24, 34, 40, 
147, 152; oral, 99, 100, 180, 181, 
188, 210, 269, 270, 271, 284, 285, 
29 1 ' 3*4> 3 26 > 354 

Games (see also Play and Sport): boys*, 
253; 'doctor*, 64; girls*, 252, 253; 
'mother*, 63, 253; 'night-time', 25; 
'office*, 45, 64, 985 of make-believe, 
63, 97$ selling, 64, 70, 78, 99; setting 
up house, 64; 'teacher*, 32, 63, 67, 
77> 9 8 > 995 'travelling*, 64; typical, 
63, 64, 253 

Genital impulses: and Oedipus conflict, 
79; and phase of maximal sadism, 
2765 and pre-genital impulses, 179, 
191, 192, 272, 274, 290; modify sad- 
ism, 213, 327, 367 

Genital stage: attainment of, 193, 226, 

34*> 367 

Genitals: names for, 27, 28, 41, 42, 43 
Giving suck: 314 
GLOVER, EDWARD: 180 n., i8in., 

185 n., 198 n., 210 n. 
'Goodness* exaggerated: 24, 135, 152, 


'Helping* figures: 209, 2i9n., 249 n., 

a&4 33> 34 3i3> 344> 37^ 
Heterosexuality: attainment of, 79, 
127 n., 136, 137, 155, 157, 158, 162, 
211, 226, 298, 300, 304, 338, 366, 
367; abandonment of, 156, 224; and 
oral fixation, 211 

Homosexuality: and oral fixation, 210, 
211, 326, 343-345* 354, and par- 
anoia, 224, 225, 346, 347, 348, 350, 
351; and sadism, 77, 78, 79, 167, 
168, 169, 224, 225, 293, 301, 344, 
345> 34^5 in the female, 77, 78, 79, 
99, 100, 136, 291 n., 293-295, 298, 
301 n., 337; in the male, 46, 155 n., 
156, 189, 210, 211, 224, 301 n., 338, 

HORNEY, KAREN: 271 n,, 290 n., 292 n., 
297, 327 n. 


Humour: 37 n., 196 n. 

Hypochondria: 204, 350, -\6z 

Id: division of, 184 

Identifications: 28 n., 208 n., 214, 258 
n., 318, 319, 322; primary, 194,195^ 

Illness: beginning of, 24 n., 56, 83, 258, 
260 n., 360, 371, 372; 'demon of*, 
169 n., 295 n.; insight into, 28, 33, 
66, 94, 97, 102, 105, ni, 137; physi 
cal, 58 n., 148, 172 n., 237; reaction 
to mothers, 57, 58 

Imagination: and sexual expansion 
256; freeing of, 38, 114, 1 1 5; in lat 
ency period, 94, 97, 113, 124 n., 
254; in puberty, 122-126; repression 

of, 94> 97> ii3>.i3 t3i> Z 5 O 2 54 

Imagos: distribution of, 50, 216, 303, 
355; excessively good and bad, 213; 
favourable, 215, 218, 2775 likened 
to unconscious, 341; harmony be- 
tween, 322; heterogeneous, 250; of 
combined parents, 103, 167, 328, 
334, 342, 3445 relation to real ob- 
jects, 144, 195 n., 209, 213, 215, 217, 
*73> 343 n., 355; separation of par- 
ental, 334, 342; terrifying, 209, 217, 
218, 230, 322, 344, 357 

Incest and destructive instinct: 193,238 

Incontinence, urinary: 25, 36, 44 n., 
58, 192, 291, 292, 293; and burning, 
63 n., 186 

Incorporation: of father's penis inside 
mother, 48, 91, 189, 269, 309, 327^ 
partial, 84, 195, 273 

Indications for treatment: 142-154 

Infancy: 'innocence* of, 314 

Infantile experiences: 25, 38, 43, 126, 
127, 128, 172, 354 

Inhibitions: in active games, 143, 



25911.; in learning', 66, 86, 135$ in 
play, 24, 31, 40, 45, 62, 109, 145* 
146, 152, 1551 1 6 1, 256 n.j in speak- 
ing, 107, no; in work, 93 n., 241, 
2j6, 350, 364$ in writing, H2n. 

Instinctual danger: 183, 184 

Internalized (sff Introjected) 

Interpretation: acceptance of, 30, 48 n., 
90 n.; deep, 48, 50, 52, 59; detailed, 
29;en*ectsof, 35, 54-5*' "*> /3 2 *a 
analytic situation, 29, 51, 56; in con- 
nection with anxiety and guilt, 29, 
55 n., 58, 1 13, 114, 139$ method of, 
35> 3*> S* 5 8 > 59> &>, * "3* of 
symbols, 52$ resistance to, 33, 48 n., 
9on., 123; timely, 46, 47, 51, 59, 95 

Introjected objects: and masochism, 
1 68, 278; as defence against destruc- 
tive instinct, 184; attacks on, 200, 
203, 2055 earliest, 283; fear of, 28, 
no, 168, 169, 203, 204, 206, 207, 

274r 275, 3i93 37 3$i-3 6 75 lovc 
204 n., 311, 3 20 j projection of, 221 

Introjection: and sexual intercourse, 
274, 275$ interaction of, with pro- 
jection, 203, 209$" in the girl, 273, 
*74 3*6, 317, 33i 

Introspection: 353 n. 

Intuition: 339 

ISAACS, SUSAN: 195 n. 

JEKELS, L.: 216 n. 

JONES, ERNEST: 99 n., 193 n., 198 n., 
208 n., 216 n., 235 n., 269, 277, 
282 n., 292 n., 293, 295 n., 297, 

317 n., 372 n. 

Katatonia: 205 

Knowledge, desire for (tee Epistemo- 
philic instinct) 

LAPORGUE, REN&: 205 n., 214 
Latency period: analysis in, 37, 65, 87, 
89 n., 94-117, 130; comparison of, 
withearly childhood, 3 7, 94, 250, 2 5 r, 
254; comparison of, with puberty, 
122, 135, 136, 260; dependence on 
object in, J3^.i37 ?5 *59> *&>! 
imaginative activities in, 94, 97, 113, 
125, 254; play in, 97, 2545 prema- 
ture, 126; protracted, 126, 129, 135; 
reserve in, 94, 95; stabilization in, 

250-252, 256, 260 n.; standards of, 

*35 ^5' *5^> 2 5* 2 &> 
LEWIN, B. D.: 307 
Libidinal gratification and mastery of 

anxiety: 276, 277 
Libido: and destructive instinct, 182, 

192, 193, 211, 214, 276, 370; un- 

gratified, and anxiety, 181-183 
Life-instinct and death-instinct: 211, 


'Little Hans': 17, 222-226 
Love: ability to, 304, 367; conditions 

of, 160, 264, 277, 278, 280, 299-301, 

302* 33-305 3395 loss of, 60, 194, 

248, 263 n., 3i7*n. 
Love-object: change of, 280, 339; 

choice of, 8 1, 341, 345 

Magic: 216, 292, 237, 238, 282, 330 

Magic wand: 69, 73, 330 

Masculine position in girl (set Castra- 
tion complex) 

Masochism: and destructive impulse, 
168, 169, 279; erotogenic, 183, 278; 
feminine, 279, 298, 302, 304 n,, 305; 
primary, 183 n. 

Masochistic phantasies: 69, 85 

Mastery of anxiety: 50, 245, 264, 265, 
266, 329, 372; and sexual activities, 
264, 276, 277, 304, 305, 333; at pu- 
berty, 260, 264$ feminine mode of, 
in boy, 262 n.j in boy, 253, 254, 
329, 330-3335 ^ 6li *5 2 > *53 ***- 
264, 274-278, 3"-3i55 in latency 
period, 254, 255, 255-260, 262,* in 
relation to introjected object, 209, 
215, 248; in relation to real object, 
50, 57, 215, 247, 248, 249, 260, 
278 n., 302, 329; masculine mode of, 
in girl, 262; pathological, 245; 
through play, 246, 2^2-254 

Masturbation: and magic, 238, 330; as 
a normal phenomenon, 166; ditoral, 
85, 289, 306; in analytic hour, 76, 
85,88 n.; in the infant, 104, 238; in- 
terference of parents with, 106, 
ii9n.; mutual, 167; obsessive, 46, 
85, 86, 88, 125, 165$ representation 
of, 42, 49, 103, 107, 126$ struggle 
against, 94, 164, 165, 256, 257, 365; 
uninhibited, 164* 166 n.; vaginal, 
85, 288, 297 

Masturbation phantasies; and Oedipus 



conflict, 193; and ordinary activi- 
ties, 257; and warding off reality,77; 
and sublimations, 31, 162, 165, 166, 
*5*> *57? of the girl, 175, 276, 288, 
289* *935 repression of, 31, 165, 257$ 
sadistic, 85, 129, 165, 167, 192, 280, 
28 1, 288 two categories oft 275, 276 

Material: analytic, 50, 58, 115, 116, 
132, 139; point of urgency of, 51, 
52; representation of, 29, 30, 31, 38, 
60-64, 96-^8, 115, 125 

Maternal attitude: 8z, 162, 252, 263, 
296, 39~3i5> 34<> 

Medicine: origin of, 169 n., 295 n. 

Megalomania phantasies: 76, 156, 240, 


Melancholia (see Depression) 

Menstruation: 129, 306-309 


Milk: 1 5, 71, 72, 365$ equated to other 
products of the body, 220, 291, 292, 
315 n., 340 n.; *good\ 284, 292 n., 
315, 320; insufficiency of, 32, i8on., 
292 n. 

Mother: aggression against, 56, 57, 60, 
99, 187, 188, 236, 276/3245 as cas- 
trator, 48, 103, 189; as grattner, 284, 
3p*> 34$ as withholder of gratifica- 
tion, 185; early attachment of girl 
to, 323-325; fear of being abandoned 

by> & 57* i35> *46, *4*> *49* ** 
of being attacked by, 57, 77, 249$ 
improvements in relations to, 80, 

real and imaginary, 27, 76, 80, 355$ 
resentment against, 242, 270, 285, 
296, 324 

Mother-imago: good as basis of good 
father-imago, 3215 as basis of good 
super-ego, 344$ division of, 57, 215, 
*49> 33> 334> 3J55 harmony be- 
tween, and father-imago, 322; prim- 
ary, 283 n.j represented by breast, 

Mother's body: as combined parents, 
342; as container of objects, 208, 
169, 284, 285, 331, 338 n., 343, 352* 
as external world, 331$ attacks on, 
57, 109, 186, 329 anal-sadistic (see 
Excrements), and epistemophilic in- 
stinct, 93, too, 189, 208, 241, 242, 
247, 332, 333, oral-sadistic, 186, 187, 
270, 285, 327, urethra! sadistic, 186, 

187, 292; dread of, 346, 352, 3561 
interior of, equated to own inside, 
329, 340, 353, 364, 365} restoration 
of, 253, 286, 300, 359, 360, 362, 363 
Muscular sadism: 184 n., 186 

Narcissism: female, 264, 282, 286 n.j 
male, 286 n. 

Naughtiness: 24, 36, 138, 142, 143, 144 

Neurosis: and environment, 35 n., 120; 
and psychosis, 153, 201, 2x7-226, 
334 n.$ frequency of, 149, 150$ pro- 
phylactic treatment of, 127 n., 1541 
without symptoms, 150, 151, 373 

Neurotic symptoms in children, 142- 
145: compared to, in adults, 143, 
144, 147, 149, i jo, 1515 compared 
to normal behaviour, 142, 151, 253, 
154; reappearance of, 86, 120, 144, 

Night terrors (see Paw noctumus) 

Normal children: analysis of, 98, 12711., 
150, 153; compared to neurotic chil- 
dren, 142, 153, 25 7j neurotic diffi- 
culties in, 128 n., 153 

Nose-picking: 76, 144 

'Not knowing*: roo, 134, 234, 287, 356 

Nursery training: and guilt, 230; as 
hostile, 32, 72$ as seduction, 82, 83 

Nutrition, conditions of, 180, 181 

Object: dependence on, 136-137, 152, 
250, 259, 260$ detachment from, 
160, 173, 260 n., 261, 351, 369$ in- 
terchangeability of, 22 1 $ introjected, 
see Introjected object; real and im- 
aginary, 2x3, 366$ sparing the, 200, 
201, 2x5, 273 n.$ turning away from 
the, 2i <, 273 n. 

Object-relations: and super-ego forma- 
tion, 198, 202, 203, 209, 213, 3021 
determinants of, 213 

Obsessional neurosis: 24, 104, 226-241} 
and isolated symptoms, 227, 228; 
and psychosis, 153, 226, 232, 233$ 
as curative process, 226$ beginnings 
of, and anxiety, 23 x j case-history of, 
65-^3; factors in, i8ij in latency 
period, 227, 258; in puberty, 261$ 
mechanisms of, 226, 260 n.; point of 
departure of, 226-229, 258 

Obsessional: play, 107, loS, 145, 162; 
symptoms, 27, 106, 366 



Obsessive: acts, and anxiety, 233; 
brooding, 66; change of object, 280$ 
copulation, 280; counting, 234, 243; 
desire for knowledge, 152, 153, 231; 
drawing, 95, 114, 133; learning, 95, 
106, 114, 133, 146; masturbation, 
46, 85, 86, 88, 125, 1655 taking and 
giving back, 233, 237, 2855 tidying, 
etc., 232 

Oedipus complex: passing of, 194, 
196 n. 

Oedipus conflict: and aggression, 24, 
25, 185, 193, 2385 begins in narcis- 
sistic phase, 239; brought on by oral 
frustration, 91, 179, 1855 decline of, 
164, 165, 194, 196 n.; early stages 
of, 24, 25 n., 26, 179, 191-195, 198, 
269-274, 323-3*4* 3*7> 3 2 ^ kter 
stages of, 192, 302-305* 334-33 6 > 
precursors of, 211 

Omnipotence, sense of: and ego-devel- 
opment, 265, 282 n., 300, 319, 341; 
constructive, 240, 241, 283, 300, 
3*9> 34i> 3425 destructive, 240, 241, 
265, 282, 293, 300, 319, 341, 356; 
of excreta, 281-283, 292, 300, 217, 
219* 33> 34i> 35 6 > 3^311.; of 
gestures, 239 n.; of the introjected 
penis, 293, 316, 320; of the penis, 
282, 292, 316, 330, 331, 356; of 
thoughts, 237, 239, 273, 317, 318; 
of words, 239n. 

OPHUIJSEN, J. H. W. V.: 180, 205 n., 
281 n. 

Oral-biting and oral-sucking stage: 
179-181, 185 n., 213 

Oral impulses and super-ego: 213, 274 

Oral phantasies: 55, 69-74, 84, 91, 97, 
167, 169, 271, 284 

Oral sadism: and destructive impulses, 
180; and ego-development, 83 n., 
1815 and epistemophilic instinct, 
100, 188, 241; and frustration, 180; 
associated with urethral sadism, 186, 
271, 272; premature, 181, 344 

Oral sucking stage: 179, 271, 343, 354; 
and good imagos, 284; and hetero- 
sexuality, 210, 211; and homosexu- 
ality, 211, 326, 357; and libido, 
1 80 

Pain: indifference to, 146; over-sensi- 
tiveness to, 146 

Paranoia: and anal or urethral sadism, 

78, 79, 205 n., 281, 323, 324; and 
attacks on mother's body, 77, 206, 
233, 324; and early anxiety-states, 
232; and heterosexuality, 305, 346; 
and homosexuality, 77, 78, 79, 93, 

224, 225, 293, 347, 35~35 I 5 an <* in- 
hibitions in speech, no, in; and 
obsessional neurosis, 64-93, 153, 

225, 226, 232, 233; and oral sadism, 

79, i88n., 223-224; and phobias, 

219, 220, 225; point of departure of, 
93, 207, 232, 233 

Paranoid fears: 790., no, in, 219, 

220, 224 
Parathymia: 24 

Parents: and child-analysis, 116-1215 
effect of good relations between, 303, 
322; child's relations to, improved 
by analysis, 24 n., 36, 57 n., 58 n., 

80, 86, 88, 98 n ; , 135, 157 
Partial incorporation: 84, 195, 273 
Passive attitude: in girl, 206, 274, 

296 n., 318, 320, 321, 322 
P&uornocturnus: 23, 24, 56, 58 n., 65, 

i43> 192 

Penis: and breast (see Breast); and nar- 
cissism, 282 n.; as attribute of mascu- 
linity, 270, 321; as reassurance, 287, 
341, 345, 346; as representative of 
ego and conscious, 283, 341, 345, 
366; as vehicle of sadism, 186, 282, 
35 6 357 'bad' into 'good', 295, 
337* 354> 35 8 > 3595 equated to child, 
309, 313, 319; equated to excre- 
ments, 70, 78 n., 205 n., 347, 351, 
352; fear of own, 365; idealization 
f> 35 2 > 359> 365; omnipotence of (see 
Omnipotence); reaction to absence 
of, in women, 351, 352 n.; small, as 
friendly, 311, 314 

Penis, father's: aggression against, 91, 
92, 93, 100, 272, 273, 280, 282, 327, 

328, 331, 335> 336, 33 8 > 349> 3555 
and sexual development, 269, 281, 
284, 291-295, 301, 313; as append- 
age of mother, 190 n., 273, 335, 

352 n.; as persecutor, 206, 347; as 
super-ego, 273, 274, 3205 fear of, 

190* i95 273* 328, 329* 335 35 2 , 

353 n.; inside mother, 48, 56, 91, 
92 n., 103 n., 189, 190, 207, 284, 
332-336; introjection of, 91, 270 

INDEX 397 

273 2 74> 3435 oral desire for, 91, 
99, 269-274, 283, 291, 327; over- 
estimation of, 271, 272, 333; restora- 
tion of, 358-360, 363 

Penis-envy: 271, 272, 273 n., 290; 
primary and secondary, 297 

Penis-pride, 338, 341 

Persecution, delusions, etc., of (see 

Personality: limitation of, 251 

Phallic phase, in girl, 290 

Phantasies of adventure, 105, i24n. 

Phobias: 182, 219-226. (See also An- 
xiety and Fear) 

Phylogenetic factor: 188 

Plaintiveness: 24, 26 n., 146 

Play: 26, 29, 32, 34 n., 35, 61, 63, 154, 

and mastery of anxiety, 246, 247, 
254; and masturbation phantasies, 
31, 162, 173, 256; change of, 29, 63, 
100; inhibition in, 31, 62, 146, 152, 
155; interpretation of, 35, 42; limita- 
tion of, 107, 108, 125, 126, 155, 161; 
obsessional, 107, 108, 145, 162; per- 
sonification in, 63, 97, 98, 168 n., 
209 n., 249 n.; relation to reality in, 
of small children, 75, 252; similarity 
of, to dreams, 29, 30, 43, 156, 247, 
253; with carts, cars, etc., 41, 42, 44, 
46,66, 107, 108, 123, 124, 155, 157- 
159, 336; with dolls, 27, 161, 162, 
2 53> 26 3; w * tn water, 29, 32, 49, 55, 
62, 63, 69, 70, 97 

Play analysis: 23-116, 155-163 

Play phantasies and development: 159- 

Poisoned: ideas of being, 71, 79 n., 
140 n,, 220, 347 

Pollutions: nocturnal, 365 

Positive transference (see Transference) 

Post-phallic phase: 296, 298, 324 

Pregnancy: 25, 27, 54 n., 57, 310-313 

Presents: 79 n., 147, 151 

Primal scene: 24 n., 32, 45, 46, 48, 
70 n., 83, 92, 192 

Prognosis: 86, 151, 162, 259, 260, 
373 n., 374 

Projection: and phobic mechanisms, 
220; incentives to, 200, 203, 206, 
207, 274, 311, 330; inhibition of, 
204; interaction with introjection, 
203, 209, 244, 248; in women, 317, 

318; mechanism of, 183, 200, 203, 

Psychosis: and early anxiety-situations, 
202,204-207; and neurosis, 153,201, 
217-226, 334 n.; in puberty, 260; 
point of departure of, 207, 217, 218 

Psychotic symptoms: 93, 205, 226,373; 
invariable occurrence of, 218 

Puberty: analysis in, 122-126, 129- 
131, 141; detachment from object 
in, 173, 260 n., 261, 369; in the boy, 
122-129, 250, 251, 260, 261; in the 
girl, 129-137, 250, 251, 260, 261; 
psychotic illnesses in, 260; standards 
of, 251, 260, 369; transition to, 86, 

RADO, SANDOR, 182 n., 185 n. 
Rage: 24, 72, 89, 104, 131, 182, 184 
Rape: 127, 129, 167, 168, 170, 175, 

288, 306 n. 

RANK, OTTO: 50 n., 186 n. 

Reaction-formations: 230, 257, 311, 
312, 319; absence of, 167 n. 

Reactive tendencies: 68, 97, 247, 336 

Reality, external: adaptation to (see 
Adaptation to reality); exclusion of, 
76, 77, 106, 133 n., 204, 205, 219, 
225; introduction of into analysis, 
76; into phantasy, 80; into play, 
97, 161; intra-psychic, 205, 215, 
246 n. 7 311 n.; over-emphasis of, 
97, 231, 255, 345; recourse to, 88, 
97, 152 n., 170 n., 185, 277, 278, 

289, 319, 330, 331; relations to, 33, 
34, 76, 88, 217, 215 

Regression: in obsessional neurosis, 

2275 in phobias, 223; in super-ego 

formation, 194 
Reference: ideas of, 350, 351 
REICH, WILHELM: 144 n., 198, 332 n., 

340 n. 

REIK, THEODORE: 168 n.> 170 n. 
Repetition -compulsion: 31, 33, 170, 

278 _ 
Repression: and defence, 200, 214; 

critical rejection instead of, 36; 

primal, 184 

Reproof: fear of, 26, 220 n. 
Restitution: and ego-development, 2 99, 

300; and mastery of anxiety, 248; 

and obsessive acts, 239; and posses- 

sion of penis, 294, 295; and sense of 



omnipotence, 240; and sexual activi- 
hies, 298-301, 336-338, 357^., 35 8 > 
360; and super-ego, 216; feminine 
mode of, 285, 286, 2875 inability 
to make, 231, 233-236, 240, 241, 
286, 287, 360, 372; mechanisms of, 
216, 231, 239, 241; mother as object 

of, 335> 33*> 339* 359 
RIVIERE, JOAN: 99 n., 130 n., 198 n., 

ROHEIM, GEZA: 206 n., 210 n., 225 n. 

SACHS, HANN&: 162 n., 175 n., 290 n., 

SADGER, J.: 186 n. 349 n. 

Sadism: and anxiety, 191, 199, 276, 
281, 2935 and early Oedipus-con- 
flict, 24-26, 93, 191, 193} and early 
super-ego, 195-198, 200, 213, 2145 
capacity to tolerate, 322, 3565 fear 
of own, 105 j phase of maximal, 190, 
i9* X 93> 207, *i2, *i8, 223, 230, 
242, 27^, 327, 341$ primal, 2785 
unconscious, in the infant, 212, 213. 
(See also Aggression and Destructive 

Sadistic partner: 278, 280, 302, 304 n. 

Sadistic phantasies: two categories of, 

a ?5 
Sadistic phase: early period of, 205; 

late period of, 205-207 
Schizophrenia: 106, 204, 205 
Schizoid traits: 131 


i69n., 204 n., 205 n., 207 n., 283 n., 
295 n., 299 n., 307 n., 373 n. 

School-teacher: hatred of, 125$ in play, 
32, 67, 98, 99 

School-work: 133, 2^4, 255; arith- 
metic, 93; difficulties in, 98, 133, 
*34> I 35 2 56j reading, 93, 254$ 
writing, 93, 133, 254, 255 

Scotomization: 205 n., 214, 246 n. 

Scybalum (see Excrements) 

SEARL, M. N.: 58, 152 n., 170 n., 188 
n., 198 n., 240 n. 

Seduction: 128, 167, 168, 306 n., 354 

Self-injury: 26 n., 146, 218 

Semen: 69, 72, 220, 340 n., 349, 367 

Sense of guilt: absence of conscious, 
i37> 167, 172, 216; and aggression, 
26, 193* "9* *38, 239, 323$ and 
anxiety, 216, 2365 and epistemo- 

philic instinct, 242; and restitutive 
tendencies, 2165 attached to destruc- 
tive tendencies, 164, 165; on account 
of sexual acts, 126, 127, 128, 138, 
I7i; 17* 

Sex-differences: ignorance about, 3565 
preoccupation with, 95, 96, 108 

Sexual activities: andepistemophilic in- 
stinct, 332, 3495 and mastery of an- 
xiety, 175, 276, 277, 289, 299, 304, 
333> 34j> 34-6; and restitutive tend- 
encies, 299, 336, 337, 367; and sad- 
ism, 127, 128, 165, 167-169, 173, 
I75> *74~*77> 28 1, 306, 313, 346, 
355 35*5 fear of, 276, 277, 280, 313, 
335^ 35 8 > 3595 inlatency period, 137, 

164, 165, 170, 174, 256, 257; incen- 
tives to, 166-172, 276, 298, 299, 332, 
333> 3355 influence of analysis upon, 

165, 171, 172, 173, 370; obsessive, 
170, 172, 280, 370 

Sexual behaviour: uninhibited, 101 
Sexual development: final outcome of, 

Sexual enlightenment: 35, 95, 96, 

Sexual potency: achievement of, 161, 

340; disturbances of, 159, 165, 186, 

n 3*9> 345 

Sexual precocity: 66, 88 

Sexual relations between children: 49, 
126, 127, 129, 131, 137, 166-175, 
228, 304, 345, 346; and complicity, 
169, 175, 304-306, 3465 prevention 
of, 174 

Sexual theories: about intra-uterine 
meeting with father's penis, 189 n.j 
about multiplicity of penises, 189, 
207 n.; about parents perpetually 
copulating, 207^.5 about the mother 
filled with penises,^ 334, 343, 351$ 
about the penis inside penis, 365 n.j 
and sadism, 188-190, 275; and sense 
of guilt, 190, 275; as phylogenetic 
heritage, 188 

SHARPE, ELLA F.: 134 n., 216 n. 

SIMMEL> ERNST.: 206 n. 

Sleep: -ceremonials, 27, 57, 58, 143, 
227 n,; disturbances of, 65, 81, 86, 
I4*> H3 

Speech: and epistemophilic instinct, 
99 n., 242, 243; disturbances of, 36, 
107, no 

INDEX 399 

Sphincter morality: 230 n. 

Sport: 124, 125, 126, 127; inhibitions 
in, 143, 1*5, 259 

Stabilization: in adult, 251, 263; in 
latency period, 250, 256, 257 

Standards: 258,260; of adolescent, 2 51, 
260, 262; of adult, 251; of child in 
latency period, 135, 250, 258 

STARCKE, AUGUST, 78 n., 205 n.> 
281 n. 

Stereotyped movements: 107, 145 


Sublimation: and mastery of anxiety, 
249, 257, 262 n., 264; and mastur- 
bation phantasies, 31, 162, 165, 166, 
256, 257; and restitutive phantasies, 
216, 285, 300; and sexual develop- 
ment, 1 60; capacity for, increased 
by analysis, 160; feminine mode in 
male, 262 n.j in female, 285, 311, 

3" 3*9> 3*> 3**> 3*3 n - 
Sucking and scooping out: 185, 188 
Sucking period: 3 2, 82, 180,343^,353 
Suckling, the: masturbation in, 164; 
phobias of, 226} anxiety and rage 
in, 182 

Suicidal tendencies: 218 
Super-ego: and obsessional neurosis, 
227 n., 229, 232, 237, 258; as terri- 
fying animal, 220, 222$ compared 
to super-ego in adult, 198, 199; ejec- 
tion of, zoo, 2 14, 2 1 7, 220 ; modifica- 
tion of severity of, 214, 215, 220, 
226 by analysis, 19, 36, 340 n., 
369$ nucleus of, 184 n., 195; opera- 
tion of as anxiety, 199, 216, 229, 
236, 306, as sense of guilt, 2x6, 
229, 236, in dreams, 34 n.j 'pre- 
cursors' of, 198; pressure of and 
early anxiety-situations, 199, 202, 
204, 219,220, 273, 3 57 n., and sexual 
activities, 170, 306, 359, increases 
sadism, 72 n., 169, 204, 236; rela- 
tions with ego, 198, 199/214-217, 

*3*> *5i> **> *5 6 > 2 S 8 3 6 95 Dela- 
tions with id, 72 n., 25*, 257, 260, 
369, 370; relations to object, 217, 
o, 303 

Super-ego formation: 28, 179, 194- 
199, 200, 219, 229, 252; and object- 
relations, 198, 202, 203, 219, 213, 
302; in girl, 274, 3 15-3225 influence 
of id -impulses on, 26, 195 n., 198, 

199, 202, 214, 27 3 j influence of oral 

fixation on, 213, 214 
Symbolization based on identifications: 

208 n. 
Symptoms: removal of, through fear, 

259 n. 

Teeth as weapons of attack: 187, 275 
Test by reality: 88, 185, 247, 277, 278, 

287, 289, 319, 330, 331 
*Third person', the: 60, 68, 91, 159 
Thumb-sucking: 25, 55, 58, 67, 76, 


Tic: 145, 165 
Training in cleanliness: see Nursery 

Transference: negative, 1235 positive, 

51, 53; rapid establishment of, 46, 

50; resolution of negative, 38, 47, 48, 

5> 5 r > 54> i*3$ s ig ns of negative, 

47> 5 

Unconscious, the: as source of creative 
energy, 364 n.; contact with, 30, 31, 
3^> 94> 97; equated with contents of 
body, 283, 341, 345 

Up-bringing (see Education and Nur- 
sery training) 

Urethral erotism: 291 n., 297 

Urethral sadism: 69, 206, 236, 292; 
and oral sadism, 186, 271, 272 

Urine: as means of injury, 73, 186, 
205 n., 206, 236, 281, 292, 295, 315, 
33 1 j as milky 291; as semen, faeces, 
etc., 69; equated with food, 220$ 
'good', curative, etc., 74, 295, 320, 

Vagina: and anus, 288, 298; and 
mouth, 271 n., 288, 298$ beneficent, 
289, 30 1 j dangerous, 195, 280, 281, 
288; functioning of, 271 n., 289, 
296; knowledge about, 288, 289 

Vagina den tata, X 95&* 

Vampire-like behaviour: 185 n. 

Verbal associations: 38 n., 94, 242 

Weaning: 82, 91, 185 
Wetting (see Incontinence) 
'Wolf-Man', the: 222-226 
"Woman with a penis', the: 102, 103* 
104, in, 157, 189,333, 343